Bolenge Hospital Report 2011
Bolenge Hospital in the Equatorial Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was built in 1928 by the Community of Disciples of Christ in the Congo (CDCC), a partner church with Global Ministries for over 100 years. In a typical year Bolenge Hospital treats over 16,000 patients. Much work is done at Bolenge Hospital to provide early childhood vaccinations, prenatal visits, and obstetrical care as well as treatment of chronic and punctual illness and disease.
In June 2006, the Bolenge Hospital experienced an electrical fire which completely destroyed the hospital’s newer main building and equipment. Community members worked hard to save the people inside the building before it was completely engulfed by flames and no human lives were lost. Since then, the hospital has been operating out of an old building with 18 doctors and nurses having returned to work. This older building is not equipped to handle the hospital’s wide range of patient health needs. The CDCC is in the process of reconstructing the hospital building and modernizing the other buildings.
Approximately three years after the fire, the new pediatric ward building was completed. This was a major triumph in the rebuilding of the hospital. By February of 2010, the pediatric ward was outfitted with equipment, beds, and medical instruments and the new ward was dedicated.
In September 2011, a group of Disciples Women visited Bolenge Hospital as a part of the Woman-to-Woman Worldwide Pilgrimage to the Congos. The group met the primary physicians and visited the pediatric ward which was busy with small patients and their parents and caregivers. The group was also able to see the progress on the next phase of building. The foundation has been built for the maternity ward which is the next top priority. The maternity ward is a separate building which will be connected to the pediatric ward by a covered walkway to give easy access for pediatric services needed by newborns and so that mother and child can both be cared for and kept in close proximity to each other. The completion date for the ward is dependent upon available funds as well as access to needed building materials.
The design for each ward is similar. They include a reception area, a small laboratory for blood tests and such, patient exam rooms, and a room with a row of beds for inpatient care. The day of the Disciples Women’s visit, all the patients were outpatients waiting to be seen for illness, injury, or immunization.
The total cost for each ward is approximately $125,000 plus the added costs of beds, equipment, etc. The overall construction timeline is contingent upon the available funds with financial aid coming from several different partners, both local and abroad. Additional building plans for the remainder of the hospital call for modernized buildings containing a total of 150 beds. This will equip the hospital to cover the health needs of the population and attention against endemic diseases.
The ground where the remains of the burned building had stood has been cleared of the building debris and has returned to its natural state with grass and scrub brush growing again. As the hospital rebuilding progresses, some of this land will again become a part of the hospital’s footprint.