|Joint effort brings medicines to the Congo|
United Methodist leaders tour the pharmacy of Lumbumbashi
Hospital in Sendwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, where medical supplies
are badly needed.
A UMNS Web-only photo courtesy of the Rev. Pamela Couture.
By Michelle Scott*
Feb. 7, 2008 | KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)
A diverse coalition of organizations have come together to provide
medicines worth up to $14 million to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first and largest shipment of medicines arrived Feb. 2 in Kinshasa
through a cooperative effort by Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas
City, Mo.; The United Methodist Church of North Katanga; Islamic Relief
USA; the United Methodist Committee on Relief; and Interchurch Medical
The Rev. Pamela Couture
The U.S. Department of Defense and American Embassy in Kinshasa facilitated the shipment. A second shipment is planned.
The idea for the donations originated with the Rev. Pamela Couture, vice
president and dean at Saint Paul School of Theology. Couture has been
working in the North Katanga area to document oral history surrounding
peace building efforts following the Second Congolese War. In the
process, she formed a close relationship with Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda
of the Congo Area.
United Methodist hospitals in the Central Congo, North Katanga and South
Congo areas will be the primary recipients of the medicines, as well as
other hospitals and clinics in need.
The Rev. James Glass, vice president for development at Saint Paul,
successfully found a non-governmental organization to donate medicine to
benefit not only the Katanga region, but also the Congo in general.
Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda
Islamic Relief USA offered to fund the project and coordinate air
transport of medicines that treat infections, malaria, anemia and other
illnesses common in the Congo.
Saint Paul and Islamic Relief USA turned to UMCOR to receive, transport
and distribute the medicines in conjunction with The United Methodist
Church in the Congo. UMCOR is working with Interchurch Medical
Assistance, which has an extensive health network in the central African
nation, to distribute the medicine.
"UMCOR’s mandate is to alleviate human suffering throughout the world,"
said the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR’s top executive. "This shipment of
medicines will certainly bring relief to many."
The Rev. Myron McCoy, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, joined
Couture, Ntambo, Glass and Dixon in Kinshasa on Jan. 28 to celebrate
the airlift. The reception was attended by both religious and government
leaders. Another celebration followed the next day in Lubumbashi with
leaders of the Katanga region.
tour of three hospitals in the Congo demonstrated the need for the
medicines. One hospital pharmacist pointed to the empty shelves and said
she receives prescriptions every day that she cannot fill because the
medicines are simply unavailable.
UMCOR has worked in the Congo since 1999 through its non-governmental
organization to assist the Katanga region, an area heavily impacted by
The agency’s current programs there include agricultural assistance for
15,000 farmers, a microfinance program that helps 7,000 small businesses
and a girl’s scholarship and mentoring program that benefits more than
*Scott is director of communications for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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