Join The Safety Net

Join The Safety Net

Start a Fundraiser

Get Started

Raise Your Voice

Get Started

Ways to Give

Learn More
Take Action

Post Author
By: Emile Dawisha

PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: In Eastern DRC, intensifying violence and mosquito resistance complicate malaria fight

December 15, 2022
Hero Image
Charline (left), 11, fled her village because of recent armed clashes in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She and her family are among the over 5 million people in the DRC taking refuge in displacement camps. “I want the war to stop so I can continue to study and prepare for my future,” she says. Photo courtesy of UNICEF/Jean-Claude Wenga.


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is about the size of western Europe and home to the world’s second largest rainforest, famous for its great apes, forest elephants, and other large mammals you won’t find in the Amazon. The DRC is also home to over 200 distinct ethnic groups that speak 242 languages, making it the world’s third most diverse nation

And yet, while the DRC is rich with culture and biodiversity, it remains one of the world’s least developed nations. Plagued by systemic corruption and decades of conflict, almost two-third’s of the DRC’s 93 million people live under the poverty line


Malaria is endemic throughout the country. Around 60% of all hospital visits in the DRC are attributed to malaria. With an estimated 30.3 million malaria cases and 77,000 malaria deaths in 2021, the DRC carries approximately 12% of the global malaria burden.

Here’s what’s particularly troubling: after making significant progress in the early 2000’s, since 2015 the DRC has seen annual malaria cases increase steadily by 30%So why has progress stalled in Central Africa’s largest and most populous country? 


In recent years, surging intercommunal violence and military offensives – particularly in eastern DRC – have triggered vast and repeated displacement of Congolese people. In 2021, there were 5.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the DRC, compared to 1.5 million in 2015.

Displaced families are particularly vulnerable to malaria. Many must live in tents or in crowded homes that offer little to no mosquito protection. Poor sanitary conditions within refugee and IDP camps create ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other vectors. 


In addition to rising insecurity and displacement, emerging insecticide resistance poses a major  threat to malaria control efforts in the DRC. According to UNICEF, entomological monitoring across the DRC revealed widespread mosquito resistance to pyrethroids, the insecticide commonly used for bed nets. This means that millions of pyrethroid-based bed nets currently being used in the DRC are no longer providing optimal protection against malaria.


United to Beat Malaria is funding the distribution of 67,814 insecticide-treated bed nets, which will protect an estimated 122,000 people from malaria living in Eastern DRC’s conflict-affected Tanganyika province.

This 2-year project will distribute two types of innovative bed nets – pyrethroid and piperonyl butoxide (PBO) nets and dual-active ingredient nets – that are highly effective against  all malaria-carrying mosquitoes, including those resistant to pyrethroids. 

Our on-the-ground partner, UNICEF, will work with community-based organizations to carry out the bed-net distributions within five Tanganyika communities. This campaign will also include malaria education and follow-up home visits to ensure proper use of the bed nets, along with promotion on local radio and community events. 

This project will prioritize those most vulnerable – specifically, young children, pregnant women, and displaced families.

Click here to learn more about past projects we’ve supported in the DRC.

Join Our Network

Sign up now to stay up to date on progress made in the fight to beat malaria.