The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly known as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville), Republic of Zaire and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The country was known officially as the “Democratic Republic of the Congo” from 1965 to 1971, when it was changed to the “Republic of Zaïre.”
In 1992, the Sovereign National Conference voted to change the name of the country to the “Democratic Republic of the Congo,” but the change was not put into practice.
The country’s name was restored by former president Laurent Kabila following the fall of long time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
Heavy fighting over the last few days in Pinga, a town in the conflict-afflicted North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has made it difficult for Médecins Sans Frontières to carry out its vital medical work.
Thousands of inhabitants have fled into the surrounding forests and eleven of Médecins Sans Frontières’
congolese staff members were missing.
médecins sans frontières was very concerned about civilians routinely exposed to this violence –
this is the eighth time Pinga has changed hands, said Jan, the operations manager in Goma.
a number of patients had to be transferred for emergency surgery to Goma, among them a 70-year-old woman after she was shot in the arm, he added.
after the first wave of attacks, a large part of the town’s population fled into the surrounding forest. the remainder sought refuge at the local hospital, but was forced out by armed men.
houses have been burned and looted, and a combatant was decapitated, further increasing the level of panic and alarm in town. eleven congolese staff members have not reported for work and are currently missing.
in the past year, the team has managed to support the town hospital, continue to run a large clinic in the town and has been able at times to cross front lines to support clinics in the surrounding area.
however, negotiating access with the multiple armed actors and alliances present in the area remains extremely challenging. health centres have been looted and medical equipment destroyed.
providing healthcare is proving a challenge when medical facilities are not respected, staff are missing. people have fled the area and those who remain fear being subjected to harsh treatment, illegal taxation, forced recruitment or worse, said jan.
pespite challenging conditions, médecins sans frontières continues to provide high quality medical care in 4 reference hospitals, 12 health centres and 4 health posts in the north kivu province of DRC and 4 reference hospitals, 19 health centres and 5 health posts in the province of south kivu.
this is in addition to running several cholera treatment centres (CTC), weekly mobile clinics, and emergency response activities as required.