ITM DRC Unit
On 20 October 2021, Congolese Deputy Prime Minister Christophe Lutundula and (former) ITM Board Chair and Antwerp Governor Cathy Berx signed the agreement to open a local representation of ITM in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the presence of Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir. ITM-DRC chose the capital Kinshasa as its base of operations. The presence in DRC was strengthened because of the large volume of joint projects with the need for a more close follow-up and the historical link between the two countries. The representation is responsible for building and following up partner cooperation, both within capacity-building projects, scientific research and the elimination of sleeping sickness.
For its development, ITM’s DRC Office receives funding from the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) Belgium, which looks after the various aspects of Belgian development cooperation, and from various other donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Research Foundation of Flanders (FWO). Besides a local representative, it also employs a number of scientific experts who provide support, train partners and guide them in scientific research.
Furthermore, the office in DRC consists of local and international staff who deal with administrative, logistical and financial issues on a daily basis, both of their own office and within the capacity building of partners.
ITM's main partners in the DRC are the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), the School of Public Health of the University of Lubumbashi (ESP-UNILU), the Centre for Health Research in Kimpese (CRSK) and the National Programme to Fight Sleeping Sickness (PNLTHA). A framework agreement was concluded with these partners, which serves as the basis for multi-year projects. There are also several cooperation agreements with other international organisations such as the World Health Organisation and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).