One of our church's mission partners is the Good Shepherd Hospital (also called the Institut Medical Chretien du Kasai or IMCK). It is part of the Medical Benevolence Foundation, a Presbyterian organization which supports over 100 hospitals and clinics throughout the world. IMCK is the primary health care facility and a center for medical education in the central region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Its services are centered at the Good Shepherd Hospital, a 160-bed facility in the village of Tshikaji, where surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, general medicine, ophthalmology, radiology, and laboratory services are offered regardless of the patient's ability to pay. The relative peace of the Kasai region during recent years has allowed IMCK to reestablish one of its original goals of giving technical support to Presbyterian and Mennonite health programs in the Kasai regions.
The Community Health Program at IMCK runs over a dozen satellite centers, with mobile health units providing a child preventive medicine outreach program with "under 5's Clinics" in outlying villages. It also runs a nutrition center in Tshikaji for the care of malnourished children.
IMCK also has a large outpatient clinic in the nearby city of Kananga. The Medical Benevolence Foundation and the Presbyterian Church help provide funding for medical supplies, short-term personnel, community development, and awareness. There are currently eleven medical students living at the Good Shepherd Hospital, where they assist in the emergency rooms or the operating rooms or in the IMCK clinic. Recently, however, it has become more difficult for the students to continue due to financial problems and the famine ravaging the area.
Leadership for the many services of IMCK is provided through our partner, the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC). Dr. John Fletcher is a mission co-worker serving as a surgeon, Instructor and also as interim health coordinator for the CPC. Ruth Brown, a new mission co-worker based in Kananga, is completing language training in preparation for her service as a development specialist with the CPC. From the United States, IMCK is supported by a cadre of mission alumni, members of the Congo Mission Network and Medical Benevolence Foundation.
Political and economic strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have burdened IMCK with shortages and the challenge of providing care for an impoverished population. At IMCK, no one is denied care for lack of the ability to pay. The Presbyterian Church (USA) supports IMCK Good Shepherd Hospital through Extra Commitment Opportunities (Account #320202). The Community Health Program is supported through ECO #320402.