DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Yet another health challenge

Most of us will recall the terrible news that made its way beyond Africa to the rest of the world of devastating impact of Ebola. While Ebola has been mostly contained, new cases still emerge and DRC is not in the clear quite yet. Now CoVid-19 adds to the litany of trials and challenges this downtrodden nation must face.

It is vital to remember that Congo-DRC is a VAST nation, with very little actual connection between the far-flung corners of the nations. Kinshasa in the west, Lubumbashi in the south, Bukavu in the east, and Zongo in the north may as well be in different countries, as far apart and disconnected as they are.

This material comes from Christian health workers who have been serving many years in DRC. You can read more about the ministry here.

“Pray that the Church in DRC would stand in true faith to be salt and light when people are hurting and struggling. May they take the opportunity to really be the hands and feet of Christ during a time of crisis. May they not offering false hope (there are a number of false pastors offering miraculous protection from COVID for donations), but reflecting the spirit of Christ as Christians have in the past to care for people because we believe in a lasting eternity and a life beyond this age.

It is difficult to really know how DRC, Kinshasa in particular (where the majority of cases are) will weather this storm. The harsh realities before COVID were already stark with most people not being able to afford good healthcare; and where the baseline “healthcare” that is being accessed already being very sub-standard and poor to begin with. People are dying everyday from malnutrition and malaria and host of many other diseases.

The situation here is different from a country where there actually is a robust and trustworthy healthcare system to overwhelm. In DRC’s case, there is not really a coordinated healthcare system to overwhelm and even if there were a few good hospitals to overwhelm, most people can’t access them. There aren’t even enough doctors and basic things like oxygen (one patient recently died because the COVID designated hospital he was in ran out of oxygen) to offer. So it is complicated.

However DRC is also very experienced in dealing with Ebola outbreaks, so there is a real system already in place to deal with an even more deadly and scary disease. And thus, there is some hope that this experience will really help DRC organize its response to COVID. It is also almost impossible for the general population to practice social distancing when most need to generate daily income in order to feed themselves.”