New Humanity Movement

Health: Person, Environment

I-camici-bianchi

Marcel Mbula is a doctor in Kinshasa in the People’s Democratic Republic of Congo. He is involved in the prevention and treatment of AIDS which still afflicts many thousands across the continent. He has decided, along with a number of other doctors to focus on the sick, especially the poorest, setting up a social and health project in collaboration with an NGO.

 

by Marcel Mbula, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

AIDS is one of the greatest problems to afflict Africa. I am a doctor, specialising in infectious diseases and I have been working for 26 years with patients who are HIV positive or suffering from AIDS. I am the consultant for this illness in the hospital in which I work in Kinshasa, the capital of my country.

I learnt very early on in life how to become involved in transforming the society I live in, to take an interest in others, putting my skills at the service of the whole community. I decided to become a doctor so as to be able to serve my brothers and sisters.

When I finished my medical studies, I found I was facing a great challenge. Even at that time in Africa there were great shortages and, in order to survive you had to work either for an international organisation or a private clinic. Many of my colleagues moved to the USA or Europe.

Because of the choice I had made at the outset and, having talked it over with my wife, we decided to stay in our own country. We accepted the dire situation, even the corruption that was widespread throughout the country, in order to serve the poor and the sick.

I always drew encouragement from working with other doctors who had made the same choice I had, universal brotherly love. Together we wanted to put the sick in first place and together we confronted situations and worked out what to do about them.

Of course, at first, we were a little afraid of contracting the virus; the poor hygiene conditions and the quarantine provisions offered no guarantees for our safety.

Furthermore, because of the grave political and socio-economic crisis in our country, we received absolutely no help either from the state or from the international community.

And the outbreak of war brought with it its own dramas
. We had great difficulty in treating AIDS victims but we kept going because we felt it was they who gave us the opportunity to put the Gospel into practice.

So our project had two objectives: to prevent and treat AIDS. With the help of AMU (Action for a United World), the NGO, we succeeded in building a sanatorium, complete with analysis laboratories. And we set up a programme offering specialist medicines that were eventually available in Africa, guaranteed to everyone, even the poorest.

We trained teachers and outreach workers whose task was to work with families and young people on a psychological, sociological and moral level to provide a full range of information on the transmission and prevention of the disease in order to bring about a change in people’s behaviour.

It is a social and health project that also includes the development of food production so as to improve the basic diet and one which guarantees psychological and social support to families.

All the doctors in the group feel that this is the way ahead, it’s a small road but one that’s well mapped out and is contributing to improving conditions in our country and which is based on the fact that we are all one family.

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