Congo: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from the Republic of the Congo for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB).

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Congo, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Ask about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

There is a a risk of typhoid infection and a high risk of malaria in Congo.

Find out more about children’s health.

Infectious diseases


Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.


There is a high incidence of TB in Congo (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), so:

  • screen all new entrants (including children) for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Congo (>1%), so:

Although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Congo may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services.

Hepatitis B

Congo has a high prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a universal infant immunisation programme for hepatitis B and a selective immunisation programme for higher risk groups

Hepatitis C

Congo has a considerably higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.


There is a high risk of malaria in Congo, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:


There is a risk of typhoid infection in Congo, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Congo are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Congo


There is a risk of helminth infections in Congo, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Congo
Number of children per woman¹ 2 5
Use of contraception² 82% 44.3%
Breast examination or mammography³ 75% 6%
Cervical cancer screening⁴ 70% 23%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner; ³women aged 50 to 69 years; ⁴women aged 20 to 69 years

Find out more about women’s health.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns


There is a high risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is >40%) and a moderate risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Congo.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Congo.


The main languages used in Congo are:

  • French (official)
  • Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages),
  • many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Source: The World Factbook.

Find out about language interpretation.


Religion Population (%)
Roman Catholic 33.1
Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3
Protestant 19.9
Salutiste 2.2
Muslim 1.6
Kimbanguiste 1.5
Other 8.1
None 11.3

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were over 8,000 people from Congo living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 26 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated and made editorial changes to meet GOV.UK style.

  2. First published.