Elaka is a not-for-profit organization focused on educating and raising awareness on maternal health.
As a promise, our organization seeks to contribute to the improved condition of women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The word ELAKA comes from the verb in Lingala, which means “to promise”.
While globally, the rate of maternal mortality is declining, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains critical. In DRC, according to 2017-2018 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), maternal mortality rate is 846 per 100,000 live births which is 12 times higher than the Sustainable Development Goals . Also, a net increase when compared to the 549 deaths per 100,00 live births reported in 2007. Further, 35 percent of female deaths among those of reproductive age are related to maternal causes, putting 1 out of every 18 women at risk of death. According to another report, in 2015, the country ranked 3rd amongst the countries with the highest number of maternal deaths .
In 2019, the mainly rural province of Kongo-Centrale had the 11th highest number of maternal deaths out of the 26 provinces of the country, including the conflict-affected regions. This is an alarmingly high ranking for a province that doesn’t receive much coverage. These national and provincial rates are alarming because mothers are the backbones of their community in DRC. Thus, the impact of the death of a mother on the surviving children and the family members caring for them are devastating.
MISSIONS & OBJECTIVES
Elaka was established with the mission to promote and advocate for preventive public health measures, as well as to increase access to healthcare for mothers and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), one province at a time. To achieve its mission the organization has four driven objectives: 1) To increase access to curative and preventive care; 2) To educate and to raise awareness about maternal health and high risk behaviors among the general population; 3) To influence policy and laws regarding maternal and children’s health; 4) To contribute to the improved condition of women and children in DRC. Elaka’s road to achieving these objectives includes effective communication with governing bodies, education of the population, and by tapping into and supporting existing community assets.
HOW WE PLAN TO ACHIEVE IT
Elaka will achieve its objectives by partnering with local clinics, hospitals and initiatives to strengthen their capacity. In the short term we hope to provide training, implement and awareness campaign, provide medical equipment to clinics and hospitals that demonstrate their need. Through the awareness campaign and the provision of hospital equipment we hope to create jobs for young people that will champion the vision in their community.
PCredit: Gregory Escande
Bibi Ndala MPH is a City Research Scientist at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Public Health Laboratory. She has 10 years of experience working as a medical technologist at McGill University Health Center. She also serves as a volunteer coordinator for the organizations Friends of the Congo and Congo Love.