The majority of the DRC’s socio-economic activities take place in the informal sector and an estimated “80% of the active population operates outside the labour market” (afdb.org). Workers often operate under difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions with limited rights and inadequate access to health care information or services. Limited compliance for occupational health and safety standards also make it difficult to implement strategies on HIV and other non-communicable diseases within the sector.
The Confédération Syndicale du Congo (CSC) is working within the informal sector in the DRC to promote social protection and decent work. On 27 May, in partnership with the Association for the Development of Moto Taxi Drivers, the Union organised HIV testing and prevention education for motorcycle-taxi drivers in Katanga.
During the outreach, 43 members of the Association were sensitised on HIV prevention with 69% participating in testing. The awareness session also covered family planning and malaria prevention: malaria is endemic in the DRC. Additionally, 2 236 condoms were distributed and all the drivers received HIV prevention stickers to put on their motorcycles.
CSC targeted this informal industry as it has grown rapidly in the last five years, fuelled by increases in urbanisation and the number of customers looking for cheap convenient transport. The sector is dominated by young men with little formal education and low information levels on HIV and other diseases. Alcohol and substance abuse are also common. Moreover, because they earn income daily, the drivers are an attractive target for sex workers and are thus considered at high risk for contracting HIV.
CSC hope the initiative will help to protect the health of the drivers and that of their clients.