The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to face intense challenges following protracted conflicts that claimed millions of lives. Despite a peace agreement in 2013 to end fighting in the eastern regions, DRC still struggles with instability, which has serious implications for health within the country. The conflicts prevented significant investment in the health system, leading to limited access to essential services—including reproductive health services—and poor health outcomes. DRC has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, and more than one-quarter of married women have an unmet need for family planning. Recent investments in the health sector have focused on the capital of Kinshasa, which has the highest contraceptive use in the country.
PAI and SJS focused on bringing much-needed attention to the sexual and reproductive health needs of individuals in post-conflict settings. In particular, women and girls specifically still need reproductive health information, services, and supplies in addition to other health services. As DRC strives to rebuild, there is an opportunity to ensure programs and policies prioritize the delivery of quality reproductive health services. This also represents a critical time to address healthy sexual and reproductive health following the conflict period characterized by widespread sexual and gender-based violence.