Maternal care improves at church hospitals in Congo

United Methodist Lupandilo Hospital and Shungu Clinic are now better equipped to serve the community, especially pregnant women, after extensive renovations and upgrades.

The health care center received new equipment and supplies, including 46 new hospital beds and mattresses, ultrasound machines, incubators and wheelchairs.

The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries’ Global Health unit provided a $500,000 grant for the improvements at the hospital and clinic.

“Lupandilo will serve and save a lot of women when it comes to pregnancy scanning and prenatal care,” said Bertine Kazadi Kyoni, president of United Methodist Women and a nurse in the Luena health center.

The dedication of the rehabilitated hospital and clinic took place Aug. 30.

“It is the North Katanga Conference’s vision to improve health facilities within the conference and that has materialized with the rehabilitation of the hospitals,” said the Rev. Mumba Masimango, conference treasurer.

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During tours of the hospital, women cheered to see ultrasound machines.

“It is a joy and salvation for women to get an ultrasound in Kamina and we are given a chance to give birth safely,” said Violate Kilume, whose husband is a United Methodist pastor.

Nurse Kyungu Kazadi Bertine, a United Methodist Women president in the North Katanga Conference, said the United Methodist health facilities in Kamina will be a model in the region.

“I want to see women’s health improved (so they) have a better life. Women give life, but sometimes they become victims of death at childbirth,” she said.

Kamunga Tshibaswaswa, a lay leader in the conference, said it’s important for the church to understand its role in improving health facilities and the realities of health care in the region.

“I visited a district where some women lack beds and give birth on the floor,” he said.

Dr. Patrick Kilunji said medical personnel now will have a clean and improved place of work and income will increase as facilities have improved.

“As we have motorbikes (provided by Global Health), health facilities have improved and health care should improve,” Kilunji said.

The North Katanga Conference hosted Haut-Lomami Governor Marcel Lenge Masangu Mpoyo, who said he appreciated the quality of the medical supplies.

North Katanga Area Bishop Mande Muyombo and the governor toured Lupandilo Hospital, which serves not only United Methodists, but also the Haut Lomami population.

Mary Nyembo, wife of the pastor of Kabongo United Methodist Church in the Mulungo District, said the improvements to the hospital will allow her to travel to Kamina for care rather than Lubumbashi.

“Salvation has come to Kamina with medical supplies that we have never seen, and now we can come in our Methodist facilities, get checked and get health care and live healthier,” she said.

The bishop thanked Dr. Graciela Salvador Davila, director of Global Health, and South Georgia Area Bishop R. Lawson Bryan and a team from the South Georgia Conference, who attended the dedication. The team was visiting to explore a new mission partnership with the North Katanga Conference.

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In his sermon, Mande recalled that the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, was very concerned about the health of poor people.

The bishop urged his fellow United Methodists to focus on personal and social holiness so that they can invest in social change as their Methodist responsibility.

“Heaven should start on Earth by giving people clean water and preventive medicine,” he said.

Graciella spoke about her trips to Africa and shared how relationships are crucial in making a difference. She urged North Katanga leaders to prioritize abundant health for all.

“That means people need physical, spiritual and psychological heath. The church should be happy to invite and open doors to everyone,” she said.

Musau is the director of communication in the North Katanga Conference.

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.

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