COVID-19 PREVENTION IN POOR URBAN DISTRICTS OF KINSHASA
By Kathleen Beckmann
Tuesday morning in the Matete district of Kinshasa: the sound of health messages through megaphones permeates the community. The Mobile Clinic Lisungi, which has been offering free medical care for over a year now, is now campaigning to raise awareness of Covid-19 and the importance of hygiene to pre-empt the spread of the disease.
Word is spreading like wildfire, with residents queuing up, mainly women and children, for the soap and hand-made cloth masks that are being distributed. Like most living in the slums on the outskirts of the city of Kinshasa (over 10 million inhabitants) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they cannot afford medical care and sanitation essentials. The average income is $ 4 a day. Since April 2019, the Mobile Clinic Lisungi, a partnership between the Lisungi Health Promotion Association and Mothers at Risk, has been driving to deprived neighbourhoods three times a week to provide medical care, with a special focus on prenatal and postnatal care.
The team consists of professional medical staff. During each mission, the team of Dr. Mamphar, the lead doctor, is fully stretched. “The response of the population is overwhelming and the large number of patients is a challenge. Especially pregnant women and young mothers need regular check ups and counseling “, explains the dedicated and enthusiastic doctor who has been involved with Lisungi since 2009.
This new coronavirus-prevention campaign is reaching thousands with messages about proper hand-washing, the importance of wearing masks in public and maintaining social distancing as feasible, and small local medical centers are also receiving gloves, hand sanitizers and medical masks.
As the Covid-19 pandemic peaks in the Northern Hemisphere, there is great concern that Subsaharan Africa may be hit hardest next. We need your support to continue to equip the mobile clinic health team and extend the awareness campaign into June. Mothers at Risk remains an 100% volunteer organization, and the entirety of your donation goes directly to help those who need it most. Thank you!