Democratic Republic of Congo

Overview

Population estimations take into consideration increased mortality rates caused by HIV and AIDS; which has lowered life expectancy, increased rates of infant mortality and reduced population growth overall. Public spending in education is 6.2%, while health public spending is only 1.1%.

EDUCATION

Overall levels of access to primary schooling are reasonably high, however, there is a considerable drop-out rate between primary and secondary level schooling. There are also differences seen between girls and boys’ access to school, with girls having lower school enrolment in both primary and secondary school. The school curriculum includes HIV and AIDS, comprehensive sexuality education and a wide range of practical skills. However, teaching materials are not available for all levels. The HIV curriculum is obligatory and is examinable in primary and secondary schools. It is estimated that 80% of all primary and secondary schools include HIV, AIDS and Life Skills education based on this curriculum.

SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

HIV prevalence across the country is low, particularly in comparison with other countries in the region and is lower among young people than adults within the population. Fertility rates among adolescents are quite high, a fact which can be partly attributed to early sexual debut, as 21.4% of girls have their first sexual experience before the age of 15 years. In addition, pregnancy related complications are more common among adolescents and contribute to a higher maternal mortality rate.

Some studies show that, for young people, health services are a second choice, after self-medicating or traditional healers, which are viewed as more easily accessible. There are a vast amount of challenges that remain in regards to sexual and reproductive health.

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