In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the leading cause of death is diarrheal diseases, accounting for 12% of the overall deaths in the country. In second place is lower repertory infections with 11%, and in third place is malaria with 7%. What do all three of these causes of death have in common? With proper first aid training, nutrition, and safety mechanisms, they are 100% preventable. These seemingly treatable diseases are exacerbated by a shortage of health centres and access to drugs in the country. The main victims of these illnesses are newborn babies. The DRC has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world at nearly 7%. Staff working in the few medical centres around the DRC lack proper education regarding sanitation, which means that patients rarely receive the proper care required to treat their ailments. Patients often must travel long distances by foot or boat to find someone with medial training, and many patients pass away before they get there.
However, several important charities are organizations are trying to change this trend. USAid founded a Maternal and Child Survival Programme (MCSD), aiming to provide clinical training to community members within the DRC and fund access to necessary drugs and medical supplies. The skills being taught to those within the DRC allows them to care for their families and others within their communities, preventing them from perishing of highly preventable diseases such as those mentioned above. The skills being taught include water sanitation, vaccinations, drug administration, family planning and reproductive health, and many more. By teaching community members and providing them with access to the necessary supplies, the MCSD has used the power of education to save the lives all around the DRC.