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Congo is a country with an approximate area of 342 thousand sq. km. (UNO, 2001). Its population is 3.818 million, and the sex ratio (men per hundred women) is 98 (UNO, 2004). The proportion of population under the age of 15 years is 47% (UNO, 2004), and the proportion of population above the age of 60 years is 5% (WHO, 2004). The literacy rate is 88.9% for men and 77.1% for women (UNESCO/MoH, 2004). The country is a low income group country (based on World Bank 2004 criteria). The proportion of health budget to GDP is 2.1%.

The per capita total expenditure on health is 22 international $, and the per capita government expenditure on health is 14 international $ (WHO, 2004). The main language(s) used in the country is (are) French. The largest ethnic group(s) is (are) Kongo in the south and Sangha and M’Bochi in the north and in the center. The largest religious group(s) is (are) Christian, and the other religious group(s) are (is) indigenous groups. The life expectancy at birth is 51.6 years for males and 54.5 years for females (WHO, 2004). The healthy life expectancy at birth is 45 years for males and 47 years for females (WHO, 2004).


There is a paucity of epidemiological data on mental illnesses in Congo in internationally accessible literature. Salignon and Legros (2002) have reported on the physical and psychological impact of war on the population. Ibara et al (2002) found neuropsychiatric presentations in 49.7% of 175 hospitalized elderly HIV patients, and Hornabrook (1975) has reported on the occurrence of endemic cretinism in the region.


Mental Health Policy A mental health policy is present. The policy was initially formulated in 1999. The components of the policy are advocacy, promotion and rehabilitation.

Substance Abuse Policy A substance abuse policy is present. The policy was initially formulated in 1999.

National Mental Health Programme A national mental health programme is present. The programme was formulated in 2002.

National Therapeutic Drug Policy/Essential List of Drugs A national therapeutic drug policy/essential list of drugs is present. It was formulated in 1983.

Mental Health Legislation Till Independence, the French legislation was being used. Since Independence no legislation is in effect. Details about the year of enactment of the mental health legislation are not available.

Mental Health Financing There are no budget allocations for mental health.

Details about expenditure on mental health are not available. The primary source of mental health financing is out of pocket expenditure by the patient or family. The country does not have disability benefits for persons with mental disorders. Mental disorders are treated as any other disorder.

Mental Health Facilities Mental health is not a part of primary health care system. Actual treatment of severe mental disorders is not available at the primary level. There are no facilities for therapy. Regular training of primary care professionals is not carried out in the field of mental health. There are no community care facilities for patients with mental disorders.

Psychiatric Beds and Professionals

Total psychiatric beds per 10 000 population
Psychiatric beds in mental hospitals per 10 000 population
Psychiatric beds in general hospitals per 10 000 population
Psychiatric beds in other settings per 10 000 population
Number of psychiatrists per 100 000 population
Number of neurosurgeons per 100 000 population
Number of psychiatric nurses per 100 000 population
Number of neurologists per 100 000 population
Number of psychologists per 100 000 population
Number of social workers per 100 000 population

  • 0.06
  • 0
  • 0.06
  • 0
  • 0.03
  • 0
  • 0.1
  • 0.03
  • 0.26
  • 0

There are 3000 social workers, but the specific number working in mental health is not available.

Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs are involved with mental health in the country.

Information Gathering System There is no mental health reporting system in the country.  The country has no data collection system or epidemiological study on mental health.

Programmes for Special Population There are no specific programmes for special population groups.

Therapeutic Drugs The following therapeutic drugs are generally available at the primary health care level of the country: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin sodium, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, diazepam, fluphenazine, haloperidol. 

Source: World Health Organization Mental Health Atlas