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Please note: our former name of Thare Machi Education is used in articles written before 2020.

Hygiene Education at the Grassroots in Goma, DR Congo

Tuesday, March 23, 2020.

Action Communautaire pour le Developpement du Kivu (ADCK) Report on the Activities on Hygiene Education and on the Corona Pandemic, Goma.
By Jackson Byenda Kahalalo.

The ACDK asbl has as beneficiary groups of its actions:
the local communities, the poor, the elderly, the children, the discriminated, the victims, the displaced, the refugees, the returnees and the victims of atrocities and violence, young people working, people from armed groups and people from natural disasters.
It primarily focuses its attention on young people in particularly difficult situations, children, the elderly, women, people living with disabilities and indigenous people (pygmies).

Awareness of the community of Goma on hygiene education with the theme “usafi wa kwanza / Personal hygiene”

 ACDK Hygiene Lesson

During the activity, children and other adults followed the lesson and answered questions.

The first lesson was intended for children because here the easiest method to popularize the message is to involve the children who between them transmit the messages and then transmit them to their parents.

Due to the overwhelming heat from the sun, the lesson was held in the living room of a house and towards the end, after answering all the questions, some of the children demonstrated hand washing.

Education on COVID-19

This second lesson was reserved for adults.

At the end of the session we gave explanations and advice on the COVID-19 pandemic, a term not used in the community. Everywhere in the urban community, as in the rural community, we use the term CORONA.

Most infected people have mild symptoms and recover, but others may be more severe.

Take care of your health and protect others by following the advice below as the WHO says:

Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands frequently with a hydro-alcoholic solution or with soap and water.
Because washing your hands with a hydro-alcoholic solution or with water and soap kills the virus if it is present on your hands.

Avoid close contacts
Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter from other people, especially if they cough, sneeze or have a fever.
Because when a person infected with a respiratory virus, such as COVID-19, coughs or sneezes, they spray small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can inhale the virus.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you may be in contact with the virus on surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus.
Because the hands are in contact with many surfaces that can be contaminated by the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you may be in contact with the virus on these surfaces.

Respect the rules of respiratory hygiene
Cover your mouth and nose with the crease of your elbow or with a handkerchief if you cough or sneeze.
Therefore, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing helps prevent the spread of viruses and other pathogens.

Stay informed and follows your doctor’s advice
Keep up to date with the latest developments regarding COVID-19. Follow the advice of your doctor, national and local health authorities, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Because it is the national and local authorities that have the most recent information on the propagation or not of COVID-19 in the region where you are.
They are in the best position to explain what people in your area should do to protect themselves.

Some questions and answers

Q: Should you avoid shaking hands because of the new coronavirus?
A: Yes. Respiratory viruses can be contracted by shaking hands with someone and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Greet with a wave of the hand or head, or bow.

Q: How do I greet someone to avoid catching the new coronavirus?
A: The safest way to greet each other to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid physical contact. You can wave with your hand or head, or bow.

Q: Does wearing rubber gloves in public places prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
A: No. Washing your hands regularly protects against COVID-19 better than wearing rubber gloves.
The virus can be on the gloves and there is a risk of contamination if you touch your face with the gloves.

Encountered Difficulties

  • Lack of hygienic protective materials during education.
  • Long volunteer journey.
  • Insufficient awareness tools and materials.
  • Lack of partners for the capacity building of ACDK asbl.

Suggestions and Recommendations

  • That the ACDK have a television set of at least 42 ’’ (42 inches) and a generator to make our lessons effective.
  • That ACDK have hygienic awareness materials to make education effective.
  • That the ACDK asbl aye of partners to support the activities.
  • That the ACDK asbl have partners to supply the needs of the community with an improved gas stove for the protection of trees and ecosystems.
  • TThat the ACDK asbl aye of capacity building.


Until recently, hygiene and sanitation were of less concern to the average person.

Currently, the awareness of the damage caused by related diseases means that this sector is taken into account in development strategies. This explains why these days, to measure the degree of development, we are not only satisfied with only socio-economic factors but much more, we integrate the health situation that is to say life expectancy and the ability to ”a community to effectively fight against diseases by establishing appropriate management systems and structures.

The management of diseases is not limited to treatment alone, but more must be done through prevention, by popularizing practices and other adequate hygiene and sanitation techniques that can effectively fight against diseases.

Pushing by this finality, the implementation of our sessions pursues the objective of informing, educating and communicating to target and interested communities, always confronted with the problems of water shortage and unsanitary conditions, epidemic, attitudes and practices hygienic which, if adopted and properly internalized, will improve their hygienic and sanitary condition.

The content of our sessions revolves around priority axes such as:

  • General notions and knowledge about certain diseases, their causes and means of prevention;
  • The basic notions or knowledge on sanitation and waste management techniques, water.

We hope that the summary of our lessons on community education will help communities to raise awareness among themselves in order to meet the health challenge by adapting it to the real needs and specific problems in their environment.

From a health point of view, in 2008, the DRC was sixth in the list of failed states due to its inability to provide public services, the degradation of legitimate authority, corruption, crime and involuntary population displacements. In 2011, the country was in last place in the ranking according to the Human Development Index, established by the United Nations Development Program.
In the DRC, the State’s disengagement from the regulation and financing of the health sector, to which were added the problems of good governance, resulted in a serious weakening of the country’s health system.

Widespread, unregulated fee-for-service is both a cause and a consequence of the commercialization phenomenon, which is gradually depriving both urban and rural populations of access to quality primary health care.

In the DRC, the World Health Organization concluded for the year 2012 that 0.92% of the population attends health facilities, 0.71% of the population of North Kivu attends health facilities instead of 5% expected. However, although there have been several health investigations in the country, the determinants of accessibility to health services remain a concern requiring an in-depth analysis in the DRC and more particularly in the eastern part (North Kivu and South provinces Kivu).

It is in this context that at the level of health care financing, it is estimated that 70% of the charges rest on households while more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. This state of affairs is the basis of the low use of health services and the deterioration of the health situation, which is characterized by an excessive maternal mortality rate (1,289 deaths per 100,000 live births and high infant mortality of 126%). The rate of access to healthcare in the DRC is between 40 and 50%, according to a demographic and health survey conducted by the Ministry of Planning and the partners in 2007 and updated in 2009.

Clearly, more than 30 million Congolese do not have access to quality health care. Indeed, bloody conflicts and wars that have marked the history of the DRC especially the eastern part (East) and have generated until these days a disturbing situation in the whole area of life where the community is abandoned to its sad outcomes.

ACDK asbl on Facebook.

Education Saves Lives – Covid 19 (Corona Virus) Online Lesson
An online lesson based on the latest advice from the World Health Organisation as of March 2020.