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ESCRS helping to improve the health of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo

ESCRS has helped to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, trachoma and conjunctivitis in the North Kivu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

ESCRS has helped to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, trachoma and conjunctivitis in the North Kivu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by donating to an Oxfam project which is developing new sustainable water supplies and empowering communities to manage these resources through training schemes and public health initiatives.

The devastating impact of 20 years of conflict between armed rebels and the government in DRC is largely forgotten by the world. The brutal conflict has claimed the lives of millions and has caused countless mass movements of people within the country and across its borders. The lives of these displaced people have been impacted on an ongoing basis children have been unable to attend school, food shortages and malnutrition are widespread and healthcare, water and sanitation facilities are widely insufficient leading to many deaths from preventable diseases.

Families living in safer areas take in large numbers of people, placing additional strain on their own resources. The coverage of clean drinking water in the DRC is estimated at 24 per cent, while sanitation is estimated at only 9 per cent. Thanks to ESCRS, Oxfam and its WASH partners can improve the health of women, men and children forced to flee their homes to live in camps, and of host communities with limited access to clean drinking water.

Sustainable water resources
Oxfam Ireland's chief executive Jim Clarken said: "The generosity of ESCRS members and the ESCRS Board has helped to deliver real change to the communities in the Lubero and Beni territories of North Kivu. By supporting Oxfam and our partners in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) project, ESCRS has provided effective and sustainable water sources for communities affected by conflict".

Increased activity of armed rebels in the Lubero territory from May-Dec 2012 led to two preventative evacuations of Oxfam staff. In spite of such on-going challenges the health and well-being of an estimated 41,547 people of displaced, returned and host communities will be improved by the completion of this project. "Oxfam will continue to commit, with the great help of our supporters, to working with local communities to ensure that their basic rights and needs are delivered," Mr Clarken added.

Poor access to latrine and sanitation facilities coupled with a lack of information about the importance of good hygiene leads to unnecessary illnesses and deaths from diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. The ongoing projects supported by ESCRS include the reparation and expansion of key water supply systems and the protection of 30 simple water sources alongside training to improve good hygiene practice. Investment by ESCRS has helped combat the spread of water-borne diseases along with water-washed diseases that affect the eyes, such as trachoma and conjunctivitis.

* To support the Oxfam project visit: www.escrs.org/charitable-donations


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