Banks, schools and governments aren’t the only things affected by the slumping economy. The Christian Medical Institute of the Kasai has also been feeling the pinch.

Medical director and OB/GYN Leon Mubikayi and administrator Bernard Kabibu have been traveling for three months in the United States trying to raise awareness to the health care needs in the Democraric Republic of Congo in central Africa.

They recently gave a presentation at Eastfield Presbyterian Church in Huntersville, where close to 30 people gathered to learned about the conditions in Congo and enjoy a Congolese dinner.

Neal Miller, a member of Eastfield Presbyterian, coordinated the event in partnership with C.N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Miller, who was born in Congo where his parents were missionaries, said the goal of the event was to provide information.

The IMCK is a medical complex in central Congo sponsored by the Presbyterian Church of the Congo, Mennonite Church of Congo and Presbyterian Churches in the United States.

The center, which receives no funds from the Congolese government, once got $90,000 a year for medicine and supplies from the Presbyterian Church and the Medical Benevolence Foundation, but that money has dried up, Mubikayi said in French, which was translated into English by Kabibu.

“Because of the economy, they do not give us this money anymore,” he said. “This is why we have come to tell our friends in the Presbyterian Church that the conditions have become difficult.”

The medical complex includes Good Shepherd Hospital, PAX clinic in downtown Kananga, a nursing school, a laboratory technical school, public heath teams and general services.

Many of the services are provided free because patients can’t pay.

“We do not turn people away because we are a Christian hospital,” Mubikayi said. “When (patients are) asked to pay, we received old suitcases and other in-kind items that the hospital cannot use or not sell for money.”

Although money is scarce, the funds received are stretched to provide several services, including a corrective procedure for pregnant women when blood to the vagina and bladder is cut off during prolonged labor. About 90 such procedures were preformed at Good Shepherd in the past year, where Mubikayi is medical director. Another 50 were performed at surrounding hospitals, he said.

“The procedures cost us about $300, but it brings life to the women,” he said.

Mubikayi said the hospital has been able to continue to provide the service “ thanks to people with good will.”

“Some have nothing to give,” he said. “They solely depend on charity, but we treat them anyway with the conviction that someone will pay… So we live with that hope, that faith and that conviction.”

Other things donations pay for: $10 can treat a child with malaria. $1 can buy a young Manga tree, which is planted in a family’s compound and will feed the family for generations. $700 will provide families with safe drinking water. $100 will provide bikes for the mobile clinic programs.

“We know that because of the economic times that $90,000 cannot be donated, but you can see that for $10 we can treat someone with malaria. Hopefully, someone will say ‘OK, I can pay $10,’…and that is one step closer to the $90,000,” Mubikayi said.

For more information: Gifts can be mailed to Medical Benevolence Foundation, 3100 S. Gessner Road, #210, Houston, TX 77063. Write IMCK in the memo field or include a note with your donation.

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