Anybody interested in helping to run a 93-bed general hospital in south-central Republic of Congo? Inpatient, outpatient and maternity wards, surgery, laboratory, great water and sanitation facilities, everything you could want.
I should also mention the charming, professional local staff; welcoming townsfolk; peaceful, picturesque surroundings; and great climate. Though it does rain quite a bit.
Until now I’ve said very little about why it is we’re all here in Kindamba. MSF runs a general hospital here, as well as conducting mobile clinics that support health posts in six small surrounding villages. These are virtually the only health services available to the people of this region.
MSF has been in Congo-B since the civil war. But now that the war is over, it’s time for MSF to leave.
Our worldwide mission is to provide healthcare to people caught in the middle of violent conflict and extreme natural disasters, where others are unable or unwilling to assist. That’s what MSF does well. One of the reasons that MSF is successful is because it sticks to what it does well and doesn’t try to be all things to all people.
So it's time for MSF to leave Congo-B. That doesn't mean that everything is fine here. It isn't. What it means is that it's time for other organizations to step up and pitch in. The Congolese Ministry of Health is ultimately responsible for health care in the country. As long as MSF remains, the Ministry of Health will not take up this responsibility. And in any event, it won't be able to operate Kindamba Hospital at nearly the same level as MSF. The resources just aren't there.
The Ministry needs a partner to help provide vital healthcare services to people in this relatively isolated region, people who are struggling to get back on their feet after years of war.
One way or another, MSF will leave Congo-B at the end of May 2008, reallocating the resources it now uses here to the overwhelming needs it faces all over the world.
The clock is ticking. Who will step up to help?