Despite being so isolated, the future and fate of the Lake Tanganyika Basin could not be more connected to the rest of the world. Rich in natural resources, like oil and minerals, and a place of enormous environmental importance because it contains one fifth of the world’s fresh water, the lake exists at the nexus of several global struggles and is increasingly attracting the attention of outside interests ranging from multi-national energy and mining corporations to global powers. The lake region is home to millions of indigenous and displaced poor, spread across four countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia.
Recognizing the complexity of the region, the organization has mobilized itself to engage on policy, legislation and technologies that promote effective development, transparency and ensure the safety of Lake Tanganyika’s populations. We have begun to produce white papers and articles that highlight key issues, provide objective analysis, and name specific opportunities and risks that decision makers should know about. Earlier this year, we released “From Curse to Cure: A Special Report on the Impact of Energy Exploration & Production in the Lake Tanganyika Basin” to expose the vulnerability of the Lake Tanganyika watershed and ensure it is properly protected—as the ecological health of the lake is inextricably tied to the health of the people living along its shores. Download the paper here >>
We are bringing new ways of working, new thinking and new energy to one of the most neglected, yet important places on Earth. Watch footage of our efforts here >>
- Reproductive Health Access in the Lake Tanganyika Basin
In the Lake Tanganyika Basin, accessing reproductive health care is a challenge. Impassable roads, poor communications infrastructure, broken supply chains to rural health centers, and extreme poverty all contribute to high birthrates, early childbearing, and exceptionally high maternal-fetal morbidity and mortality.
The LTFHC is committed to making contraception accessible to empower local women, save lives, and prevent disease. In 2015 and 2016, we partnered with Hivos International and local Ministry of Health (MOH) officials to provide family planning services for patients, training for health care workers and community education in Nkasi and Uvinza Districts, Tanzania.
In summary, this project achieved:
- Public information – Over 100,000 people were reached with medically accurate family planning information through a local radio program and two national newspaper articles.
- Contraceptive implants – Over 1,000 women, previously without access to contraception, received implantable long-lasting reversible contraceptives.
- Condom distribution – 10,000 condoms were distributed to a high degree of demand in all communities.
- Counseling services – Over 4,000 women received one-on-one family planning counseling.
- Education – Nearly 2,000 community members from Nkasi and Uvinza Districts were engaged on issues regarding women’s health, and sensitized to family planning with information through educational festivals.
- Health care worker training – 22 rural health care workers from 18 villages received comprehensive family planning training covering topics from correct pelvic exam techniques to lessons in counseling reproductive health patients and inserting implantable contraceptives.
- Supply chain improvement – the LTFHC assisted in the coordination and normalization of ordering processes of essential health center supplies with the MOH and Medical Stores Department (MSD).
The combined activities of this two-year program impacted over 260,000 people.
The communities involved expressed great satisfaction with the work, and the health care workers we trained voiced their happiness with the curriculum, and their excitement about putting their new knowledge to work in their home villages. Throughout the program, we had full support from the Ministry of Health and local authorities.
Demand for similar services in the DRC is high. It is our hope that we can expand this successful initiative to rural communities in the DRC in the future.
P.S. In case you missed it, check out our video overview of Phase 1 of this program last year
Experiencing Lake Tanganyika