On Thomas Monday, April 24 2017, we traveled to Congo at the invitation of Metropolitan Nikiphoros of Kinshasa and with the blessings of Metropolitan Theoklitos of Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameri, along with our Elder, Fr. Chrysostomos Maidonis.
We settled at the Theological School of the Metropolis. The writer of this text (Sister Akylina), Hematology physician, along with Ms Stella Stephanis, nurse, organized a small clinic at the School of Theology for the School students just as much as for the Saint Barbara parishioners , who live next to the School, but also for all the residents of the surrounding area. Our goal was to create a general medical center with free primary health care.
On 28 April this community clinic started its operation, which only lasted for 18 days. The great needs of the local inhabitants were more than evident from the very first days. Daily there were over 70 people from all over the area, even from distant regions, queuing outside the clinic waiting to be examined. This made us appoint secretariat and reception so as to separate the urgent cases from the less serious or minor ones, which were distributed by appointment on the next days and the patients could be dealt with promptly and in an unhurried fashion. Here it is worth mentioning that whole families came to be examined, and in most cases, almost all the members were suffering from a disease requiring treatment.
We estimate that about 500 people were examined. We examined all patients, irrespective of religion. Most of them were Protestants, second in number were the Roman-Catholics, a lot fewer were the Orthodox, and some others belonged to various religious sects.
The organization of primary health care is of vital importance to the Metropolis of Kinshasa. A Health Center is already being built in Mont Ngafula area; its construction will have been completed by September but the structure needs to be equipped with medical supplies and staff.
Shortly before the end of the clinic’s operation, an event was organized, informing the residents of the area about prevention of ill health and hygiene measures. The event was attended by more than 300 people.
On our way back, we felt as if we were leaving behind us a major task: to do everything possible -always with the power of God- to help organize primary health care at the Diocese of Kinshasa, which will be based on volunteering, so as to be offered free of charge to all inhabitants regardless of religion or economic status. That’s why we are making an appeal for volunteer doctors of any specialty, especially pediatricians and general practitioners, but also for aid in the form of medical supplies and equipment.