Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Democratic Republic of Congo for healthcare practitioners.
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) from this country for tuberculosis (TB).
There is a high incidence of Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived. Democratic Republic of Congo has an intermediate prevalence.
Consider screening for hepatitis C, because Democratic Republic of Congo has a considerably higher prevalence than 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 high risk of malaria in some areas of Democratic Republic of Congo.
There is a risk of typhoid infection in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Consider nutritional and metabolic concerns.
Find out more about children’s health.
- screen all new entrants, including children, for TB according to NICE guidelines
- refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
- seek advice, if you are a local TB service, from the MDR-TB Clinical Advice Service before treating patients from Democratic Republic of Congo for TB
- 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
Take a sexual history, and:
- screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
- test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia
Democratic Republic of Congo has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so:
- offer and recommend an HIV test if the patient:
- falls into a high risk group
- is newly registering in a high prevalence area
- be advised that national guidelines do not recommend routine consideration of HIV testing of infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK
Democratic Republic of Congo has an intermediate 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 selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B
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 Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:
- test any unwell patient who has travelled to-and-from affected areas of Democratic Republic of Congo in the last year
- remember that malaria can be rapidly fatal
There is a risk of typhoid infection in Democratic Republic of Congo, so:
- ensure that travellers to Democratic Republic of 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 Democratic Republic of Congo
There is a risk of helminth infections in Democratic Republic of Congo, including:
- lymphatic filariasis
- soil transmitted helminthiasis
Reproductive health indicators
|Reproductive health indicator||UK||Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Number of children per woman¹||2||7|
|Use of contraception²||82%||31.4%|
¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner
No data are available on:
- mammography screening rates
- cervical cancer screening rates
Nutritional and metabolic concerns
There is a high risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is >40%) and pre-school children (estimated prevalence is >40%), so:
- be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
- test as clinically indicated
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)
There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Democratic Republic of Congo.
People from Democratic Republic of Congo may be at risk of iodine induced hyperthyroidism due to excessive intake.
Health indicators and health care
WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Culture, politics and history
The main languages used in Democratic Republic of Congo are:
- French (official)
- Lingala (a lingua franca trade language)
- Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili)
Source: The World Factbook.
¹includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs
Source: The World Factbook.
Migration to the UK
There were over 19,000 people from Democratic Republic of Congo living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.
Source: Office for National Statistics