Kinshasa, DRC

The Global Early Adolescent Study is partnering with University of Kinshasa School of Public Health, a local Congolese university entity specialised in public health training, research and community services at the national and regional levels. KSPH was founded in 1984 with the support of USAID and a consortium of US Universities and is headquartered in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Established in 1984, the KSPH “aims to be a center of excellence in public health at the national and regional levels. Its core mission is to contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of Congolese people in three ways elucidated in the Mission Statement, Services and Vision documents.

These include: carrying out research to identify and to resolve public health problems; engaging in community activities designed to promote community participation; and strengthening the capacity to build partnerships, self-sufficiency and self-determination.

The Kinshasa School of Public Health provides training at the master’s and PhD level in public health, health economics, nutritional epidemiology and field epidemiology and laboratory as well as a variety of short courses in a range of public health specialties (e.g. research methods, finance, monitoring and evaluation) and continuing education for health professionals. Additionally, there is a focus on providing quality research to assess the burden of disease and its impact on populations, to identify solutions to health problems, to evaluate health services and ways to strengthen the capacity of health agents, and to evaluate the impact of health programs. As an overall part of this mission, the school is tasked with providing support to disease control and surveillance, epidemiological investigations, disaster management, and quality control of public health laboratories.

Kinshasa is the first longitudinal site of the GEAS and is operated by the Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH) in collaboration with the GEAS Coordinating Center at Johns Hopkins University. The project is jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the global Passages Project. Passages is a project led by the Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University (IRH) and a consortium of partners including the GEAS, Save the Children, Tearfund and FHI 360. The Passages Project, funded by USAID, aims to transform social norms at scale to promote family planning and reproductive health by testing and evaluating normative change interventions.

Under the Passages project, Kinshasa School of Public Health is partnering with GEAS to evaluate Bien Grandir! (Growing Up Great), a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum interventionfor very young adolescents (VYAs) in Kinshasa,Democratic Republic of the Congo led by Save the Children and it’s community-based organization (CBOs) partners to transform reproductive health and gender norms among VYAs in Kinshasa.

 GUG! is a multi-level intervention for VYAs aged 10-14 years old, their parents and caregivers and other influential community members. It uses an ecological approach to provide information and address social and gender norms related to reproductive health and wellbeing at each of these levels, with the goal of improving both in-school and out-of-school VYAs’ sexual and reproductive health outcomes in later adolescence. Specifically, GUG! aims to increase (1) VYAs’ knowledge of puberty and reproductive development, (2) VYAs’ and parents’ gender-equitable behaviors, and (3) use of family planning and other reproductive health services among VYAs as they age into older adolescence.

GUG! was informed by other successful approaches for improving gender and reproductive health among adolescents, and it incorporates evidence-based recommendations for health interventions with young people. It purposefully targets VYAs, a critical demographic group, to reach them prior to the onset of puberty. This early intervention is intended to provide an opportunity to shape the health trajectory of an adolescent’s life course and proactively prevent reproductive and other health problems, rather than addressing health issues as they arise. It also employs a holistic approach to VYA health interventions, acknowledging the multiple layers of influence from parents, peers, teachers and community leaders.

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Patrick K. Kayembe, Primary Investigator

Patrick K. Kayembe, MD, MPH, PhD is the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Kinshasa School of Public Health.  He has written a book on HIV and is author or coauthor of more than 80 journal articles, book chapters, research, and evaluation reports. In February 2009 he was appointed Dean of the Kinshasa School of Public Health and served from February 2009 to March 2012. He has consulted for many national and international organizations, namely WHO (served as TFI member from 2010 to 2013), Worldbank (external evaluation of the African Program on Onchocerciasis, APOC in 2005), UNDP (to evaluate the integration of HIV/AIDS into the curriculum at selected universities in Africa, in 2007), SADC (to evaluate the SADC HIV business plan, 2013). He has been appointed PI for a number of national and sub-national surveys.  In 2006 he has coordinated a narrative research on behalf of UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.  During this exercise, he worked with teenagers to have them construct a typical history on how teenagers initiate sexual relationships, their motivation to have sex and how they behave afterwards.  The findings were used to design education manuals targeting teenagers. Contact Dr. Kayembe.


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Eric M. Mafuta, Field Coordinator

Eric M. Mafuta, MD, MPH is senior lecturer on Health Systems Policy and Management Department at the University of Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH). After working for three years as a physician in maternal and child health services in the private sector in Kinshasa (2003-2005), he was appointed junior lecturer at KSPH, where he also graduated in Health Economy in 2007. He was involved as an interview transcriber in an adolescent reproductive and sexual health narrative study in 2007, as associate investigator in a socioeconomic study on integrated HIV care for tuberculosis patients living with HIV in Bas Congo province in collaboration with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and the National Tuberculosis Control Program (2008), and as assistant investigator and project manager in a health systems expenditures assessment of regarding people living with HIV and AIDS in 2010 in 2020. Dr. Mafuta was Coordination and Public Relations Manager at the Permanent Executive Secretary of the Federation of Regional Centrals for Essential Drugs Supply (2009-2011) and assistant investigator in measuring family planning dynamics in 3 francophone cities. He studied supply, demand, creation, and use of contraceptives with Tulane University, and was a field supervisor in Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 in Kinshasa in 2014.

Dr. Mafuta is the focal person for Africa Hub, a Health Alliance project for strengthening capacities of eastern- and central-African schools of public health on health systems research, in collaboration with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health through Future Health Systems and Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda. He is currently a PhD student at VU University, Amsterdam and WOTRO, improving maternal health through social accountability mechanisms research program in the DRC and Burundi. Contact Dr. Mafuta.


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Dr. Pierre Akilimali is the data manager for the GEAS Kinshasa site. He is author or co-author of more than 30 journal articles. He worked from 2005 to 2007 as the head of office in health districts and subprovinces. He subsequently served as the technical advisor in the office of the Italian cooperation of the Embassy of Italy at Kinshasa. Dr. Akilimali has consulted for many national and international organizations, including UNFPA's Facility Facility Assessment for Reproductive Health Commodities And Services. He possesses significant experience with household surveys, including conceptualization, sampling, data collection, cleaning and analysis, and dissemination. Contact Dr. Akilimali.


Dr. Lulebo is the research assistant for GEAS in Kinshasa and a doctoral student at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Ecole de Santé Publique. She has a medical degree from University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN), School of Medicine in Democratic Republic of the Congo and a Master in Public Health from the Kinshasa School of Public Health. Currently she works as a lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UNIKIN Faculty of Medicine and as a research assistant at KSPH. She has a long experience in study conception and data collection. For GEAS in  Kinshasa, she  provides support for instrument adaptation, data collection, management and analysis.