The Health Crisis: IDJWI
Idjwi Island, with a population of 250,000, located in Lake Kivu between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, exists in relative isolation. Its surface is estimated at four times the size of Manhattan. THE BIG PICTURE >>
The Ban’Idjwi are an isolated people- a fact that has severe consequences on their health. The healthcare infrastructure centers on a small underfunded, understaffed health clinic on the southern tip of the island. The facility’s four doctors are charged with providing care for over 250,000 Ban’Idjwi. Small healthcare outposts sited elsewhere on the island lack not only basic equipment and drugs, but also running water and electricity. Idjwi has not been a focus of the DRC government or the international community. This situation has led to a catastrophic demographic, social and economic crisis. For many Ban’Idjwi dealing with severe poverty (US$.20 per day capita income), the lack of basic infrastructural elements such as electricity and roads put even these health services out of their reach.
What results is a population that, for the most part, has no access to any medical care at all. Conditions have only worsened as the population of the island has quadrupled in the last thirty years, creating a situation that is incredibly unstable. The population has grown from less than 38,000 in 1978 to more than 250,000 in 2010 with an average family size of 8 persons per household. It is estimated that more than 130/1000 children die before their fifth birthday in Idjwi, more than 1800/100,000 women die during child birth unattended. Many of these deaths do not occur at any health structure since people have to walk very long distances to receive inadequate medical care. Research suggests that this explosive growth is a direct byproduct of poor state of healthcare on the island. The Ban’Idjwi are thus a vulnerable population in crisis. AGW HEALTH SOLUTION >>