Medical Infrastructure Needs for Six CDCC Hospitals
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) Special Project
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Democratic Republic of Congo
Over 100 years ago, U.S. missionaries founded the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC) in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire. The church has been affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States since 1899.
According to the United Nations, the people of the DRC continue to suffer intensely from over five years of war that has left trails of death and destruction throughout the country. Although the economic situation in the DRC continues to improve with the institution of a transitional government in 2003, this progress is slow. The United Nations Human Development Index ranked the DRC as 167 out of 177 countries worldwide in 2006.
Institutions and resources needed to meet basic needs are sorely lacking in the DRC. Millions have been driven from their homes as refugees. Many people in the northern regions are unable to even find suitable clothing. Primary and secondary schools are just now reopening. The infant-juvenile mortality rate continues to increase and the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. As broken families in the DRC struggle to survive, they are often unable to pay for adequate health care.
Furthermore, the institutions that are most important in achieving improved health conditions-the hospitals-have experienced highly increased demands on shrinking and aging resources. A United Nations press release from 2003 stated that “in some hospitals, two patients have to share one bed, two or three babies are placed at a time in one incubator, and the general lack of equipment and basic medicines is appalling. The overwhelming lack of basic infrastructure (water, electricity, roads) is only balanced by the strong determination of the Congolese and the devotion of medical workers, teachers, and civil servants.”
CDCC oversees six hospitals in the impoverished and war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and has identified the following needs for improvement in these hospitals.
Medical Instruments and Supplies
For the past several years, hospitals have relied primarily on instruments and equipment left by U.S. missionaries, much of which is now over 40 years old. With the recent war, much of the medical infrastructure also was destroyed. The need for medical care has increased while the means to purchase needed supplies and equipment has decreased. Doctors must practice with the few resources that are available. Many patients have suffered complications or died because the proper instruments and equipment needed to diagnose and care for them were not available.
To remedy this situation, Global Ministries seeks funds to purchase and disseminate the needed medical instruments and equipment for the six CDCC hospitals so that basic, lifesaving care can be given to patients. Most of the basic medical instruments and equipment, such as thermometers and stethoscopes, are available for purchase in the DRC’s capital of Kinshasa, while other specialized instruments and equipment for eye care, for example, will need to be purchased internationally. All of these items then will be distributed nationwide to the six CDCC hospitals. With the introduction of much-needed new medical equipment and instruments, the CDCC hospitals will be able to improve the health of the residents of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Paint and Labor for Hospitals
The CDCC hospital staff is working hard to heal people in unsanitary conditions. The hospitals were originally maintained by U.S. missionaries and were painted and cleaned periodically. In the past years, maintenance of the hospitals has deteriorated and some of the hospitals were seriously damaged during the war. Some of the hospitals haven’t had any new paint while others have walls with peeling paint that provide breeding grounds for mildew, mold, and other unsanitary growths. These conditions make it very difficult for doctors to properly care for and provide treatment to patients.
All six CDCC hospitals are in desperate need of both interior and exterior paint. The paint can be purchased in both Kinshasa and Mbandaka but it is very expensive and the quality is very questionable. Painting the hospitals hasn’t been a priority in the past because there were not funds available to purchase the paint and necessary supplies. Once funding is secured, every effort will be made to find a reliable source of paint.
Exact dimensions of the hospital buildings are not yet available, so the amount of paint needed is an estimate.
Interior and Exterior Paint: $90,000
($3.00 x 30,000 sq. meters)
Grand Total $127,000
A fresh coat of paint for these hospitals will greatly improve the conditions and allow patients to receive the greatest care possible.
Solar Panels, Lights and Accessories for CDCC Hospitals
The CDCC seeks support to obtain light and electricity for hospitals to properly care for their patients. The former supply of electricity came from timeworn and poorly maintained generators, which ran on fuel that is expensive and difficult to obtain. An alternate source of electricity and lighting can be found in solar panels and accessories that require only the sun for fuel and require little maintenance. Proper lighting will allow hospital staff to more effectively care for the patients at the CDCC hospitals and provide them with a stronger likelihood of making a full recovery.
Solar panels, lights and accessories can be purchased in Kinshasa and shipped to the respective hospitals for installation. The CDCC will work with a professional from Mbandaka to install the solar panels, wiring, batteries, lights, and other essential items in each of the six hospitals. These solar panels and accessories have the ability to supply the lighting and free electricity in the hospitals for years to come with minimal maintenance.
With the average life expectancy being only 45 years of age, the people of Congo and the future generation of the DRC need our help in establishing adequate health care opportunities.
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