In the morning you see a child playing joyfully with other children, and in the evening you find out that the same child has died of a high fever. Many times poor indigenous people have no money to go to the doctor or buy the medication required to save their children, and they end up losing them. Other times we hear that somebody sold everything he owned in order to save his sick child or wife. Malaria is a major plague in the region, which kills many people; the tragic irony is that if it is early diagnosed, it can be treated with the right medications.
Poor indigenous Congolese people are constantly resorting to the court of the Holy Metropolis asking for financial help to see a doctor or buy medicine. The Metropolitan, with the little money he has from the charitable people who send him, is trying to do everything in his power to help.
With hard work and a lot of effort the first floor has been completed; what is still missing is the interior doors, which need to be constructed and fitted, and then its furnishings, fixtures and medical equipment. The Medical Center includes various departments, such as Outpatient Emergency, Obstetrics, Microbiology and Haematology, Ophthalmology, Dentistry, Ultrasound, and also patient ward rooms.
A praiseworthy effort was made by a Greek medical team this year, which came to Kinshasa on May 19, and stayed for a fortnight. The team consisted of Mr. Nikolaos Constantinides, Neurosurgeon, Ms. Athena Pyrpasopoulos, GP-ID Specialist, Ms. Dionyssia Filaditakis, Psychiatrist, Ms. Maria Malogiannis, Technologist-Microbiologist and Ms. Vassilikil Pangou, nurse. This team was joined by Mr. Prokopis Sangua, Doctor and Director at Kolwezi Hospital, which is run by the Holy Metropolis of Katanga.
Examination rooms were soon set up and the health care center started operating. As there were no doors, bed sheets were used instead. A large number of poor natives turned out, they were all examined and received medication free of charge. Here is a typical case of a father who had his child in his arms and was sitting outside his house very sad. The Metropolitan car was out for a job far away from the health care center. There the driver noticed both the father and the child, and asked the father:
— “Why are you so sad?” — “I have no money to take my child to the doctor”, he answered. — Don’t you know that the health care center which the Orthodox Church is building has doctors who have come from Greece and examine people and provide medicine free of charge? Go there right now.
He took his child and went there. Indeed, the doctors examined it, gave it medication, and the child was saved. The smile came back to the poor father’s face.
The team of doctors visited the parishes of St. Barbara, the Holy Archangels, the Disabled, as well as the School of Theology, and practiced medicine there. They examined about a thousand natives and with the help of the Metropolis, they offered them free medicine.
The health care center was visited and blessed by His Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II during his recent pastoral journey to the Congo in February this year. He conducted the inaugural rite of Blessing and prayed for its completion and smooth operation. Let us all pray that the money required for its completion will soon be found. If this happens, the poor natives will feel so relieved!
† Nikiphoros of Kinshasa