Skip to content

Women and Girls Living in Cobalt-mining Communities in the DRC Report a “Staggering” Rise in Serious Reproductive Health Issues

An investigation published by the UK-based human rights group Rights & Accountability in Development (Raid) and the Kinshasa-based NGO Afrewatch said that women and girls living around cobalt mines reported experiencing irregular menstruations, urogenital infections, vaginal mycoses and warts. According to the report, “a paediatrician, who has been recording patients’ data since 2016, explained that the rates of genital infections and skin pathologies among female patients had exploded. She believed this was because these populations are the primary users of ‘unclean water’, making them particularly vulnerable to diseases.” In total, 144 people living in 25 communities near five industrial cobalt mines were interviewed as part of the study. More than half of all interviewees (56%) raised concerns about their own reproductive health or that of family members.