Democratic Republic of Congo Neonatal Care

When the fighting started, Henrietta couldn’t see. Luckily, her brother was able to guide her to safety.

Henrietta fled violence in the Central African Republic to find shelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, Henreitta lives in Inke Camp with her newborn child Adumbiwali.
Photo: © UK for UNHCR / Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Vulnerable refugees like Henrietta are some of the worst hit by the violence in the Central African Republic.


to treat refugee mothers and babies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Essential supplies icon

Delivery essentials

items like solar lamps and mosquito nets.

Hygiene supplies

to ensure the delivery and any post-operations are up-to-standard and prevent any infections.

How is the violence in CAR affecting refugee mothers?

In DRC, refugee mothers who have fled terrible violence in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) are dying from treatable conditions. So too, tragically, are their newborn babies. They are the victims of a desperately underfunded health system and woefully inadequate facilities. Despite the determined efforts of doctors like Nellie Sangwa, who is head of the clinic in UNHCR’s Inke camp, some women and newborns are needlessly dying in childbirth or due to avoidable complications soon after – purely because of the lack of basic medical equipment or medicine.


How has the situation in CAR changed over the last few years?
Since 2016, CAR had been gradually moving towards peace and stability, with refugees and internally displaced people starting to go back home. But now, insecurity is plaguing areas in the centre, north west, east and south east of the country – some not previously affected by violence.
What is UNHCR doing to help refugee mothers in DRC?

UNHCR is working across the DRC with doctors like Dr Nellie Sangwa – head of the maternity clinic in Inke UNHCR camp – to help provide the right equipment to help refugee mothers and their babies survive.

With the help of our kind supporters, UNHCR has led the effort to protect refugees worldwide from coronavirus. But this has inevitably affected our ability to invest in projects like maternity care. Your support today could ensure Dr Nellie and her team can save more lives. Learn more about Dr Nellie Sangwa and work helping refugee mothers in DRC here.

What sort of equipment does Dr Nellie need?
The most urgent need is for an ultrasound machine, which would allow Dr Nellie and her team to identify potential health issues earlier in pregnancy. A portable ultrasound costs £3,623, so support is urgently needed to give mums and babies the medical care they deserve.

Other items include delivery kits, delivery beds, mosquito nets and blood transfusion kits.

Where is the nearest hospital?
Dr Nellie Sangwa and her team operate from the clinic in Inke, which is miles away from the nearest hospital. So it’s vital that the Inke clinic has the medicine and equipment needed to help treat refugee mothers and their babies.
Where can I access the latest data and reports?
CAR Situation – for the latest on UNHCR’s relief work to protect displaced people from the Central African Republic.

For the latest on UNHCR’s relief operations across DRC, please visit our operations page.

Did you know many refugees from CAR escape in canoes or walk for weeks with little food or water to sustain them?

Marie Clare fled conflict in her home of Central African Republic to find shelter in Democratic Republic of Congo…

Thanks to the ongoing care of Dr Nellie Sangwa and her team of nurses and ambulance drivers, Marie Clare had a safe delivery of her second baby.

“I am so grateful that I had a safe delivery. I was going for check-upregularly. The nurses always counselled me. They advised me to breastfeed the baby for six monthsbefore giving him any other food. There were times when I was ill, but they always took care of me atthe health centre free of charge.”

You can read more about Marie Claire’s story here.


Photo: © UK for UNHCR / Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
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