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CONGO: Medical and Maternity Center for Rural Village

What started in 2006 as a simple food program for 100 orphans in the Kikimi village on the outskirts of Kinshasa, has grown into a successful development project directed by FCF partner Espoir Congo. Programs include primary education for 225 kids, a library, sports, youth vocational training for 15+ unwed moms, school meals, and medical care, greatly improving the quality of life for orphans and vulnerable families.

The “Mustard Seed Medical Center,” now the best clinic in the area, has transformed the village, providing not only check-ups and life-saving treatment, but also prenatal care and deliveries. Initially only a small dispensary was setup to treat common ailments such as malaria, yellow fever and respiratory infections. Later, donated lab equipment for blood testing helped improve diagnosis and recovery time. A makeshift maternity was constructed in 2012 to provide emergency assistance for mothers who would normally have to make the 25 km trek over rough roads to the nearest government clinic. And in response to the increased demand for health care, a large two-room medical center was built and officially opened in 2014.

At the clinic, a rainwater collection system provides running water, showers and toilets, while solar panels provide electricity—all a luxury in this area where rural clinics typically have to deliver babies at night using a cellphone flashlight, and patients use an outhouse. With tiled floors, patient beds with privacy screens, a delivery bed, refrigeration for vaccines and blood, sterilization and other essential equipment, local families can now receive care in a clean and safe place.

This past year, 2,160 people received healthcare, and 43 successful deliveries were performed. Orphans receive complimentary care at the facility, while local villagers pay a small fee towards costs, keeping the non-profit enterprise afloat. Destitute families who cannot afford the minimum fee are encouraged to contribute by cooking or cleaning. Due to the often impassable roads leading to the city, a doctor has been assigned by the District to facilitate C-sections and other emergency procedures when needed. A second story is now needed for a surgery theater and more patient wards.