The mortality rate during birth for both mothers and babies is also very high.
The infant mortality rate for children under the age of five in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (9.1% in 2017) remains higher than in other sub-Saharan African countries, where the 2017 figure was 7.6%.
Malnutrition continues to affect large sections of the population: only 9.3% of the population receive a minimum acceptable diet; over 4.6 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, of whom 2.2 million suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio: indeed, diarrhoeal diseases are the leading cause of death in the country (12% in 2012).
KINKALATA MEDICAL CENTER (MOBA)
Only one hospital was capable of offering expert assistance in the whole area and it was very difficult to reach or organise transport for the sick.
For this reason, as early as 2007, a consortium led by Fonte di Speranza aimed to develop a very ambitious project: to set up a medical centre to serve local people.
This project also included the challenge of establishing a diagnostic centre that would not only assist the medical centre staff in making their diagnoses, but also engage in international healthcare initiatives carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In May 2007, we launched this project together with the Ami.Mo Association Moba (which also includes Congolese residents and professionals).
Thanks to the collaboration of the only doctor in the area, Dr. Kiwele, the medical needs of the local population were analysed in order to decide which activities and services the Medical Centre should offer. Italian technical staff (doctors from Arezzo Local Health Authority 8) provided voluntary consultancy services and the characteristics of the facility were defined, both in terms of construction and in terms of organising the medical side.
A local doctor and nurse also visited Arezzo to receive several months of training. Thanks to this internship and the skills acquired, it was possible to get the laboratory up and running.
A committee was formed on site with 23 volunteer members. Its responsibilities include organising, managing and coordinating the project in close collaboration with Fonte di Speranza.
An internship in the UK is currently being drawn up for the training of the doctor in charge of Microbiological Research, Dr. Guillaume Mundele.
Thanks to an Italian researcher who works at a university hospital in the UK, it will be possible to provide an internship lasting around 3 months. This will provide an opportunity to learn new methods of analysing samples, while also allowing a network of relationships and collaborations to be established at an international level. This will provide a great opportunity for the Moba Project, as well as for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to evaluate operational and structural problems.
Medical and Maternity Centre
The first step was to construct the facility, which includes a clinic/maternity centre, a medical dispensary with basic medical equipment, a diagnostic laboratory and basic equipment to support haematology and the screening of infectious diseases.
The clinic and maternity centre are now well established thanks to the work of the many people involved and the many private donations received for this project.
The Maternity Centre provides preventive measures and care during pregnancy, as well as ensuring safe births and the provision of the proper care for both babies and mothers. It also provides basic medical services for treating the most common diseases. Furthermore, in critical cases or with more serious illnesses, there is a means of transporting patients to the relevant state hospital.
The next step for the Medical Centre is to open an eye clinic and dentist’s surgery to serve and respond to the significant and urgent needs of the population.
Laboratories are also operational and local staff have been identified and trained.
The aim of this laboratory is to achieve alignment with the WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines on cutting-edge diagnostic approaches, i.e. to provide epidemiological data on cases collected on site, which normally take a long time to be processed and which are critical for planning adequate health interventions and for limiting the infection rate (which is currently uncontrolled).
In the diagnostic laboratories it is necessary: to develop further uses for the available equipment; to liaise with high-level European diagnostic and pathology clinics that could provide staff with apprenticeships, technical support and training; to formalise grant-financed collaborative activities to initiate medical epidemiological studies, and to give priority to the development and research of more effective diagnoses and vaccines.
The whole project is highly integrated and dependent on the local population, who regard it as progress and as a benefit for the whole community. The staff is composed entirely of local people, who are also the main beneficiaries of this project.