Astellas Global Health Foundation and World Vision Collaborate on COVID-19 Education and Training in the DRC

When the first case of COVID-19 was announced in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in March 2020, the country was already battling an Ebola outbreak, fighting a measles outbreak that had infected 320,000 people and killed 6,000, and facing the consequences of many years of cyclical conflict, including unprecedented levels of malnutrition in several provinces.1

World Vision stepped up quickly with a comprehensive COVID-19 response in the DRC, the largest relief response in the organization’s history, which was supported in part by the Astellas Global Health Foundation.

The Astellas Global Health Foundation approved a $350,000 grant to World Vision in July 2020, which was intended to help World Vision’s efforts to scale up support in priority areas that included:

Astellas Global Health Foundation and World Vision Collaborate on COVID-19 Education and Training in the DRC

Children learn how to wash their hands properly to prevent COVID-19 spread as part of the Foundation’s grant support.

  • Scaling up COVID-19 preventative measures in the DRC, including: establishing handwashing and cleaning infrastructure (e.g., public handwashing stations with soap dispensers and cleaning disinfection kits for vulnerable households); engaging community/faith leaders, community health workers (CHWs) and other local partners to disseminate preventative behavior messages; providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare personnel and community mobilizers; and, creating public communications with disease prevention messages.

  • Strengthening DRC health systems and workers serving at-risk residents, including: training CHWs to provide community-based health services, home support, contract tracing, advocacy and protection; providing PPE and treatment supplies; supporting the establishment and operation of isolation centers and transportation to these centers; and, assisting medical facilities with COVID-19 preventative or response support.

“Our support of World Vision’s vital work underscores the Foundation’s commitment to helping improve access to health in low- and middle-income countries where COVID-19 challenges have created new urgency for populations in highest need,” said Moyra Knight, president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation. “This already highly successful collaboration in the DRC is demonstrating both valuable public education for at-risk residents and essential training for community leaders and health workers to help enable health access in this vulnerable region.”

Astellas Global Health Foundation and World Vision Collaborate on COVID-19 Education and Training in the DRC

A nurse provides Justine with COVID-19 information and guidance to sustain the improvement of her children’s health.

One such leader is Nénette Mwange, KAHOZI counselor at the Catholic Mothers of St. Gabriel's Parish in Lubumbashi. Mwange commented, “Without this training, I would have made some mistakes thinking I am helping my people. For example, I heard that if people take a lot of ginger, lemon and honey, they will not catch the disease. Thankfully, I now know that this is not true.”

Mid-Year Impact

Impact to date has far exceeded expectations, with World Vision reporting it has surpassed its projections by more than 100% after just six months of the one-year grant funding from the Astellas Global Health Foundation. Key grant impact highlights to date:

Scaling up COVID-19 preventative measures:

  • Provided 285,000+ community members with COVID-19 education materials

  • Trained 5,200+ local faith/community leaders to champion basic infection, prevention, and control measures, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, quarantine of COVID-19 patients, and protection of those at high risk

  • Distributed 32,000+ handwashing supplies and 14,000+ comprehensive hygiene kits for community members, and 32,000+ disinfectant kits for healthcare facilities

  • Constructed or rehabilitated 4,400+ water, sanitation and hygiene facilities

Strengthening DRC health systems and workers:

  • Trained 5,200+ CHWs to help slow COVID-19 transmission and reduce the numbers of cases requiring hospitalization

  • Distributed 1 million+ glove sets, 840,000+ masks and other PPE, medical supplies, equipment and tents to help manage quarantine and isolation for health facilities, medical workers and communities

Foundation-supported efforts will continue through July 2021.

Learn more about the Astellas Global Health Foundation’s support of World Vision and World Vision’s reach and experience in the DRC on its website or LinkedIn.

1World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Weekly Bulletin on Outbreaks and Other Emergencies. Week 10, 2-8 March 2020. Available at: OEW10-0208032020.pdf (

Ebola – page 4

Measles – page 10

Humanitarian crisis – page 10