First health center opens in rural Congo village

Osio is a village located more than 25 kilometers from Kisangani city. Each year for many years, the population of this village might travel thousands of kilometers to receive medical care. 

Today, thanks to The United Methodist Church and the support of the Board of Global Ministries’ Abundant Health initiative, this population is enjoying having a modern health center in their village. The center has a 20-bed capacity with a quality staff designated by East Congo Bishop Gabriel Unda Yemba, and offers general medical treatment with plans to add a maternity ward. 

The goal is to make quality care accessible to all and change the image of the medical structures within the East Congo Episcopal Area, said Dr. Damas Lushima, general coordinator of health for the episcopal area. 

“It is important to build a modern maternity to continue to improve the health of the mother and child,” he added. “Abundant Health decided to build a health facility worthy of its name in the annual conference of the Equator and Oriental to alleviate some of the health problems that presents children and pregnant women in the rural Osio village.”  

“I am happy to see the Methodist community thought about the health of the population that is under my jurisdiction here in Osio,” said Tshamunyonge Faustin, leader of the village.

In addition to upgrading the quality of care, the church helped improve the area infrastructure to increase access to a health center. Since there was no bridge nearby, crossing the Congo River to allow villagers to reach the university clinics or the large hospitals in Kisangani was an obstacle. They had to rely on canoes in an emergency. 
This photo shows the exterior of the health center opened by The United Methodist Church in East Congo. Photo courtesy of the Equator and Oriental Annual Conference.
"This photo shows the exterior of the health center opened by The United Methodist Church in East Congo. Photo courtesy of the Equator and Oriental Annual Conference.
The Oriental and Equator Conference covers a large geographic area, which also presents challenges to providing better health care access, said Albert Wembakoy, health supervisor for the conference.  

“The need for well-constructed structures is as big as the conference itself because the majority of the members living in this conference are in rural areas,” he said. “It is a great joy to see the population being brought closer to the structures of quality care in our annual conference.”

How to help

Donate to the Abundant Health initiative, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
The presence of the modern health center in Osio also aids in evangelization, said the Rev. Albert Onotamba, pastor of the local Albert Onotamba United Methodist Church that bears his name.

“We receive from time to time some people who today become effective members of our local church in Lubunga who testify to the service received at Osio health center,” Onotamba said. “The health center does not only receive The United Methodists but also, and above all, the non-Methodists who come to receive the proper care.”  

“I pray that God will assist all the partners who think about the well-being of the people in the rural areas of our annual conference and our episcopal area,” said the Rev. Willy Alimasi, Kisangani 1 District Superintendent.

Osongo Yanga is the director of communications for the East Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. 

News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.


Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE
Mission and Ministry
Laurine Deemi and Thomas Mallah stand in front of medical supplies at The United Methodist Church in Liberia’s health department in Monrovia, Liberia. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has donated over $40,000 worth of anti-malarial medicine, tests and mosquito nets to the church in Liberia. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.

Church in Liberia gets malaria medication

An Imagine No Malaria grant also will help United Methodists with the capacity building of health facility staff and better monitoring.
Mission and Ministry
Megan Klingler, with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries’ Global Health unit, visits a health checkpoint set up to treat cholera patients outside Majengo Health Center, a United Methodist hospital in Goma, Congo. Photo By Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.

Cholera concerns grow in East Congo

Amid the Ebola outbreak, church adds cholera education to public awareness campaign as cases increase in North and South Kivu.
Mission and Ministry
Sierra Leone Area Bishop John Yambasu (center, pink clerical shirt) leads a dedication service in front of the new surgery facility at the Lowell and Ruth Gess United Methodist Eye Hospital in eastern Freetown, Sierra Leone. He is joined by Dr. Lowell Gess (to his right), who started the medical center as Kissy Eye Clinic during his missionary years there. Gess spent 58 of his missionary years in Sierra Leone. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UM News.

Sierra Leone church expands eye care services

A new state-of-the art surgical facility will allow a United Methodist eye clinic to provide treatment for retinal tears and other eye problems that couldn’t previously be treated in Sierra Leone.