Luvungi MHCD hospital is a community and rural hospital based in Luvungi village, Uvira District, South Kivu Province in Democratic Republic of Congo. The hospital was built with the aim of bringing a solution to people suffering from diseases especially chronic diseases and to provide proper and good health care services to the poor and vulnerable people, more so women and children.
Almost all wars that have happened in D. R. Congo started from Uvira District, even the current one that is in the North Kivu Province Goma. This is because of the geographical location of Uvira. Uvira District is the only District in Congo that has borders with four countries namely, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia. Tanza¬nia and Zambia through Lake Tang¬anyika. This has made the district to be the doors to war. War that started in the year 1996 began in Uvira and very many people were killed, very many women were raped and left widows, most children remained orphans and the worst bit was for girls who as young as 3 years were all raped. There is war, poverty is inevitable, people are forced to eat and sleep under wanting conditions. Dirty water is usually used.
God was merciful to us, war ended and things slowly returned to normal but there was the introduction of another type of wars. The wars of diseases, hunger and poverty have continued to date. Lack of proper nutrition caused many children to be malnutritioned and others lost their lives.Up the mountains and valleys of Ruzizi and Bafuliru especially in the case of Caesarian women are walking on foot for more than 12 hours looking for a hospital, others died on the way, never reaching their destinations. Before the Luvungi hospital commenced its treatment, very many women suffered and lost their lives just because of looking for doctors and medicine. Also lack of medical equipment like Echography, radiography,ECG machine etc made so many patients go having problems with treatment. When children fell ill, especially due to anaemia, they died due to lack of a doctor who can help them with proper treatment.
All these problems affected the people of Luvungi village and its surroundings and made them suffer seriously for many years and even many more lost their lives. This is the reason why Dr. Luc Mulimbalimba Masururu who is a medical doctor by profession and M.H.C.D. Director got his vision and decided to construct a hospital in Luvungi for the sake of helping the vulnerable people with affordable, proper and good medical care.
In 2008 Dr. Luc started constructing the hospital with his own finances .However little he got. He started with one big building of 15 rooms that was used for several services like consultation, laboratory, maternity, hospitalization for men, women, paediatry and nursing care. Each and every day Dr.Luc used to receive more than 50 patients coming for treatment. He even received patients from the neigh¬bouring Rwanda and Burundi and even from the far districts of D. R. Congo. Very many people were happy and so much impressed with Luvungi hospital because it is very cheap,doctors and nurses welcome patients generously and even for the extremely poor free medication is administered. Luvungi hospital also started serving as a birthing kits distribution and assembling centre and very many traditional midwives came to collect birthing kits and learn more on the same and this made so many women to come and deliver at the hospital. Every day, more than 6 women came to deliver for free and without any payments. The traditional midwives also came to learn for free without any payments.
IMPACTS OF LUVUNGI HOSPITAL
Since Luvungi MHCD hospital commenced treatment and helping the sick, mortality rates have really gone down in Uvira district especially Ruzizi Valley and Bafuliru Mountain.
We have been successful in reducing infant mortality rates and maternal deaths. Through free delivery and distribution of birthing kits HIV/AIDS infection has greatly reduced together with other infections. The women give birth in very good conditions without any problems.
Luvungi hospital has contributed a lot in reducing deaths caused by malaria for children below 5 years of age. Typhoid has also been greatly reduced. Before, very many children's lives were lost due to malaria, even other people thought that it was witchcraft or evil spirits but today very many patients are treated and get well even for malaria hence great reduction in mortality rates.We recently opened a nutrition depart-ment that supports children under 5 years of age suffering from malnutrition to get free balanced diet and when they get well they go back home.
Luvungi MHCD Hospital has been on the front line in sensitizing and informing the community about primary health care, nutrition and how to avoid some diseases, infections and greatly helps in preventing diseases. Patients who had to travel to Kenya or Uganda for the sake of treatment for their eyes, teeth or operation are now receiving treatment here in Luvungi and this in turn reduces poverty and increases development for all the people of D.R.Congo even the countries of Rwanda and Burundi.
Luvungi MHCD Hospital has been paramount in bringing about unity, peace, reconciliation and love among Congolese, Rwandese and Burundians. This is because they all meet together, sleep and learn together here in Luvungi Hospital. When they go back home they talk on matters of peace and reconciliation and this is very good.
Luvungi MHCD Hospital has brought about so many positive changes and developments here in Uvira and so many people attest to this. I am not able to wrote on all the good things that have come about as a result of the hospital because they are so many.
Luvungi MHCD Hospital is a medical department of MHCD, Mission in Health Care and Development whose main objective is to provide proper, good and affordable health care to vulnerable people living in the villages and rural areas and reducing poverty through community development and health programme.
Luvungi MHCD Hospital has services and departments like:
2. Dental clinic
3. Ophthalmology clinic
4. Epilepsy clinic
6. Consultation rooms
8. Wards for men and women
9. Ronda and Arthur child clinic
10. Community pharmacy
11. West Wyalong counseling Centre
12. Medical laboratory
13. Nutritional centre
14. Community Rehabilitation centre
15. Pre natal and Post natal clinics
16. Naturopathic clinic
17. Homeopathic clinic
18. Community ambulance
19. Mobile clinics
20. Intensive Care Unit ICU
22. Dental radiography
23. ECG Machine
25. Community canteen
The main objective of all this services and departments is to make MHCD Luvungi Hospital to be the leading and referral Hospital in Uvira District and in 2013 we made it because many people who were going to the neighboring countries to receive special treatment like ophthalmology, dental care and special examination like for echography and dental radiography are receiving this services at the Luvungi Hospital in Uvira District. This has made us have very many patients and also serve many. MHCD Luvungi Hospital together with its clinics and health centres which are in Uvira, Kiliba, Sange and Buheba was able to serve 4800 patients including the in patients and out patients and those who were coming to purchase medicine at the community pharmacy after the consultation.
III.1. RONDA AND ARTHUR CHILD CLINIC.
This clinic is for the out patients only. We decided to build it when we saw that it was very difficult to treat the children who are hospitalized and the out patients at the same time. This also helped us minimize contamination of diseases among the children. When the pediatric ward at the Hospital is full, this clinic also helps in hospitalizing other patients.
III.2. WEST WYALONG COUNSELLING CENTRE
This centre helps us in carrying out counseling to the raped women from the villages and who do not have a place to sleep. Most of the time we receive women at the hospital who after consultation we find that they have gynecological problems and many of them usually is as a result of rape. They refuse to say that they were raped because of fear of being isolated and discriminated against. There are even married couples with the same problem but it becomes very difficult for them to communicate. In solving this, MHCD decided to construct this counseling centre that has the following services:
1. Family and sexual violence counseling
2. HIV and Family planning counseling
3. Accommodation for the raped women coming from different villages
4. Counseling and resting rooms
5. Sitting rooms
The centre has a guest house of four beds, sitting room, kitchen, counseling private rooms and verandah. This centre helps us even in receiving visitors coming to visit the Hospital and also those coming for family counseling. This centre has helped greatly in bringing couples together, fighting discrimination among communities, womening opening up to be treated and bringing hope in Uvira District.
III.3. COMMUNITY PHARMACY:
At MHCD Luvungi Hospital and Uvira Clinic, we receive so many out patients who just come for consultation and then go back to their homes. There are also other people who are consulted in other clinics and medical centres and then they are given medical prescriptions to go purchase medicine. Many of the medicines are not available in Luvungi and if they are found they are very expensive. Most of the people are also leading very poor lives and they cannot afford to purchase the medicines.
In finding solution to this problem, MHCD built a community pharmacy in Luvungi with essential medicine and all the people of Uvira District in Luvungi come to purchase medicine at very low price. We give the medicines out at the same price we bought at wholesale since most of the people are poor. This helped a lot in promoting health care and made many people have access to medicine and proper medical care. There are people who are coming from very far, almost 50kms just to purchase medicine because we are very cheap. We are so grateful to Ronda and Arthur Boyd, Dr.Elaine and John Dietsch and all those who supported us in completing the construction of the community pharmacy and purchasing medicine. We appreciate your support very much and please we are still in need of your support for the sake of purchasing medicine.
III.4. DENTAL CLINIC:
Our dental clinic is the only clinic with a dental surgeon in the whole of Uvira district. Before opening the clinic, very many people had their teeth removed by general doctors or nurses. This bought about lots of problems because they had no experience and knowledge on teeth removal in turn so many complications were noted and others lost their lives also many used to lose a lot of many going to look for treatment far away and this brought poverty.
Since we began our dental clinic, dental inflections have reduced in the communities, deaths occurring from dents have been reduced to zero and people do not spend a lot of money travelling so far looking for a doctor. This has brought development in the community and reduces poverty.
In the year 2013, we were successful to get a container of goods from Adelaide Australia among which there were dental equipments and materials like dental chairs, dental Radiography and many other dental materials. This made our dental clinic to be the best and the only equipped dental clinic in the whole of Uvira District. The materials were of great help to our dental doctor’s work well and have helped the Luvungi Hospital dental clinic to be a modern clinic. For now we are constructing a building of four rooms that shall host dental, ophthalmology and epilepsy clinics. The building is at the roofing stage and we are hoping to finish completely with the construction in this year 2014.
The container we received in 2014 was a great blessing to us and that’s why the people of Uvira District call it a container of love and development. We also have dental mobile clinic programmes where we go to villages and schools educating the community on how to prevent dental infections and free consultations. Sometimes we give out toothbrushes for free.
III.5. OPHTHALMOLOGY CLINIC:
Luvungi MHCD Hospital again is the only hospital with an ophthalmology clinic in Uvira district. Before, many Congolese were travelling to Bujumbura Burundi, Bukavu, Kampala, Nairobi Kenya and Kigali Rwanda just looking for an ophthalmologist but since we opened an ophthalmology clinic at Uvira MHCD clinic and Luvungi MHCD Hospital, people are not travelling very far away. We purchased ophthalmology operation kit and hired an ophthalmologist Doctor from Kinshasa, capital city of D.R.Congo who carries out of all operations and has saved lives and helped so many people.
The big challenge we are facing is that we have only one ophthalmologist who works in Luvungi hospital and Uvira clinics. All medicine and eye glasses we get them from Kinshasa and they are quite expensive and it’s sometimes very difficult for the patients to purchase the prescribed medicines due to poverty. We kindly request all well-wishers to please help us in this department so it can advance.
III.6. EPILEPSY CLINIC:
Epilepsy is one of the killer diseases in D.R.Congo but so many people are not aware. Many people still believe that epilepsy is a curse, witchcraft or demonic. This causes many people suffering in the communities to be marginalized.
Many people still believe that when an epileptic patient emits he or she will get infected thus when they fall down they are left by themselves because people fear to be infected. Because the patient’s i.e. epileptic patients believe that it is due to witchcraft or demons when they fall they are taken to the witchdoctors other than the hospital.
To bring a solution to all these problems we started a centre for prevention and treatment of epilepsy, where we carry out research on epilepsy, epilepsy awareness and treatment of people suffering from epilepsy.
Since we started this programme it has helped a lot in reducing suffering of the epilepsy patients and people have realized that epilepsy can be managed and it is not a transmitted disease. This has been a successful programme and we succeeded to convince people to bring patients to the hospital than to the witchdoctors. We began also the programme of training and equipping doctors on epilepsy management which is going on.
In the year 2013, I won a scholarship to study Clinical Epileptology at SEIN School of Epileptology in Holland. It was one month training and the knowledge that I got was very reliable in improving our treatment and expanding our epilepsy clinic.
III.7. NUTRITIONAL CENTRE:
We opened this centre in 2012. It really helped in providing food and medical care to the malnutrition children. This year we were able to provide food and medical care to 350 malnutrition children and we gave their parents hoes and seeds for the sake of fighting hunger and reducing poverty. We also gave them land for ploughing and some money for micro financing to start small business.
All the families affected with malnutrition started agricultural project. We advised them to plant sweet potatoes because it’s easy to plough and can be eaten accompanied by any other food. In only one month, they harvested and they consumed some and sold the surplus. This project helped a lot in fighting poverty and as at now they are continuing very well.
III.8. COMMUNITY HEALTH INSURANCE:
Since MHCD Luvungi Hospital was opened, we had the biggest challenge of serving the poor. Most of the time when we were running out of medicine, it was very difficult to purchase others. In avoiding this problem, we contacted a local insurance company in Kinshasa who had a delegation going to Luvungi and opening their office at Luvungi Hospital. We gave them a room and furniture’s for the sake of helping them start their work. They shall be charging per person USD20 per year. If those registered fell sick, they shall be paying 30% and then the company pays 70%. It’s a community health insurance managed by the community itself.
This is a new programme and we are in need of your support so that we can be able to support those people
We were lucky to receive theatre equipment from the container we got from Australia. We received theatre beds, theatre clothes for the doctors while carrying out operation, sterile medical gloves and other equipments. These equipments enabled us open two theatre sections, one in Luvungi MHCD Hospital and another in Uvira MHCD clinic. For now our operating room is well equipped. Its where major and small surgeries are carried out. This is also where the ophthalmologist carries out eye operations. The theatre looks very nice and we are so grateful to the MHCD Australia support Association and Rotary clubs who donated the container of goods to us. People in Uvira district call it a container of peace, love and development.
III.10. COMMUNITY AMBULANCE:
MHCD Luvungi Hospital has an ambulance that goes from village to villages which are very far and those who are very sick and cannot get to the hospital quickly it also helps in bringing the very sick patients from other health centres and clinics to Luvungi MHCD Hospital. This is the only ambulance in Ruzizi valley and Bafuliru Mountain. Every day it travels 2 to 3 times caring the sick. It also helps in mobile clinics and medical outreaches.