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Health tops agenda on minister’s Congo visit

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has held talks in Kinshasa on improving healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Calmy-Rey met her Congolese counterpart and the minister for international cooperation on Wednesday to discuss Swiss activities supporting healthcare since 2000.

She was accompanied on the trip by the head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Martin Dahinden, and the pair were due to visit the agency’s project supporting victims of violence and a Swiss-funded paediatric centre attached to a hospital.

More talks were planned with non-governmental organisations on promoting democratic electoral processes in the country.

Switzerland is launching a SFr22 million ($20 million) programme for projects in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, of which SFr10 million will go to the Congolese province of Sud-Kivu.

The SDC says in the last decade Swiss aid has improved conditions at two hospitals and four health centres and funded the construction of a paediatric centre. Around 2,000 women have had medical treatment and 6,000 received counselling.

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