Saturday, September 18, 2010

In their own words….with my own eyes.

Thirty minutes drive out; I was already into a place where life still reflected below poverty level.  Actually, it came as a surprised to me, as well.  However, I expected some of what I saw. There were villages here and there, with some healthcare facilities servicing the population as best as they can.  They have very limited resources, supplies, not to mention a remarkable lack of two main active ingredients.  First is the obvious lack of quality of health. This is demonstrated by the meager, and very miserably equipment such as beds, birthing tables, etc.  The facility itself is far desirable because and under termites assault ready to crumble.  Again, they serve as best as they can with what they have.
Second lacking ingredient, is a trained medical personnel.  Out there, the health authorities don’t care much about checking credentials.  Therefore, even a nurse assistant can pass for a doctor.  The locals don’t have a choice but accept what is offered them by a disorganized and uncaring health system.
My conversations the “medical personnel” was enriching.  One acknowledges being a student in medicine but has been unable to continue school, another declared to me that she used to work for the government but got fed up with its bureaucracy.  They all proved to have great compassion for the people even though they lack the basics in medical adequate quality care.  They are “forgotten”.
A “doctor’s” consultation is seemingly the easiest one for them to have.  As far as lab analyses and appropriate treatment, I tell a difficult story.  Patients walk the miles to find places where they can have some labs done; although, viability is questionable.  Patients walk the miles to purchase medications needed for administration in the care facility.  It seems to me that everything is hard work for both the “medical personnel” and the patients.  But the patients are put in great danger because of the incompetence of the so called doctors and nurses and the irresponsibility of the authorities.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Basis of the Project


With the economic hardship, medical care has not been on the forefront of the local healthcare authorities.  The medical infrastructure has not been able to cover adequately the ever increasing population of the city of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.  In the city alone, the inefficiently equipped, government-owned and operated, hospitals and clinics don’t meet the needs of the population rich or poor.  On the other hand, private medical establishments are aimed at population with luxurious or sustainable income.
On the outskirts of the city, 30-40 miles out Lubumbashi, are villages with population whose access to care is a long and strenuous trip to the city.  Only then, do they discover that healthcare is well over their budget; they can’t afford it.
So, it begs on us to find means of remedying to the issues of healthcare in the villages and other remote places where medical care is not accessible.  A medical team to move toward these seemingly off-agenda places is now envisioned.  They, too, deserve quality healthcare.
Thus, the M. SOMA CLN has developed a three-fold project called “Healthy pregnancy, healthy child, and healthy community”.  Women are the hard-workers in African villages and that is true in Lubumbashi as well.  When they are pregnant, there are some very basic health needs that are not met.  Often time prenatal care is neglected due to lack of finances and distances needed to get to a care facility.  At the time of birthing, complications arise which are quickly blamed on some traditional misfortune beliefs.  Children are the most vulnerable in economically challenged villages and remote places of Lubumbashi.  When they become sick, parents choose to hope for the best without seeking for a doctor (who is only in the city) or a trained medical personnel (who is not available in their area), all not within immediate reach.  The journey to a medical facility is long and cost money.  A family of many children, sometimes is forced not to mind much about losing one child because another will be born.  However, we understand the importance of a life.  Therefore, we must also educate the community in order to prevent and preserve.  A healthy community will contribute to the development of a nation.
Villages differ in sizes 100 to 500 people.  They can be found 3-4 miles, sometimes greater, apart from each other.  Sites that I chose are places I have visited before, and people are familiar with what I do.  These sites constitute “pilot sites” for the “Healthy pregnancy, healthy child, and healthy community”. 
I am not aware of any other mobile medical team in these areas.  I believe the time is favorable for M. SOMA CLN to move in and carry out this project.  The project has a great potential to succeed and grow because we are professional.  And we are taking quality care where it is lacking, needed, and appreciated.


Outreach Projects for M. SOMA CLN


  1. Sites
    • Establish contact w/  responsible : get phone number
    • Located sites: villages along MCK road and Kiswishi Farm
  2. Population size
    • Determine size of population to serve
    • Target population
  3. Target population
    • Pregnant women
    • Children up to 15 years
  4. Services organized and provided
    • OB/GYN “Healthy pregnancy project”
a)      Ovulation test
b)      Pregnancy test
c)      Hgb tests
d)     UTI
e)      Fetal Heart Rate
f)       Fundal height
·         PEDS “Healthy child project”
a)      EENT
b)      Malnutrition evaluation
c)      Intestinal worms
d)     Gastroenteritis
·         EDUCATION “Healthy community project”
a)      Nutrition
b)      Sanitation
c)      Family planning
d)     Water source
e)      Septic/sewage tank
  1. Mission
a.       Making healthcare accessible
Ø  Going to the people
b.      Making healthcare affordable
Ø  Low cost care
  1. Objective
Ø  Improving the lives of people through quality care and education


  1. Contact responsible prior to going there
    • Inform population
  2. Doctor and Medical assistant
  3. Responsibilities
a.       Doctor
·         Family physician
·         Limited Lab tech
b.      Medical assistant
·         Administration
·         Limited Lab tech
c.       Responsible
·         Crowd management
·         Liaison between medical team and target population
  1. Procedure
a.       First time patient’s chart
b.      “Jeton” w/ name and number
c.       Returning patient w/ “Jeton”
d.      A system to maintain contact with the patient and evaluate project
  1. Fees
Fees are only to offset some administrative cost: fuel for vehicle, purchases of drugs, and some medical supplies
  1. Projects will be conducted every Saturday.  Twice a month per village


Saturday, September 4, 2010


 How it all started:
            After having completed my medical training and clinical...., I set out to follow an ambition of mine. well, it was the only one I really had.  A childhood dream, was now starting to shape my views and understands of the world around me. It became more than just a dream.  It became quite clear to me this ambition defined my mission, purpose in life. Yes, it gave me a reason to be and live for.  It permeated every sleeping and waking moment to the point where it makes no difference whether I sleep or rise.  I see my dream in reality just like I see my reality in my dream.  Now, I see the journey for what it is.  The true nature of a journey.  One way journey with many intersections, slow down signs, stop signs, yield signs, speed pumps, and all the challenges and obstacles expected to be on a route.
          However, the wonder of it all, is that I encounter many people whose life's mission parallel with mine.  Every human life has some basic needs so critical to survival, reproduction, development (shelter, education, food, freedom, health,...).  The latter is of importance to me.  So, I came to realize that my mission put me at the center of a "greater purpose"; where, I am not allowed to entertain ignorance. There are many other philanthropists finding solutions to the basics to humanity.  I am joining hands with them, raising my voice, and walking with them.  Just like how different are the faces of 7 or 8 billions people, so are the personalities of all philanthropists.  Each one brings a set of strategic talents to alleviate the plight of human suffering, but in union.
         Ah! the particularity.  I started a clinic in my home town of Lubumbashi, DRC.  In this part of Africa, the basics are tough to meet.  Healthcare which is of concern to me, sets the foundation of my mission.  Well, not an obsession, but just a focal point for my career or vocation.  I see rich patients, poor patients, and yet the impoverished patients.  Really, those three categories exist.  I am not dreaming anymore.  What if the impoverished man could get a CAT scan, and have a good Samaritan pay for it?  What if a pregnant village woman could deliver with the assistance of a competent physician, and have a good Samaritan pay for it?  I don't speak of social just, wealth redistribution, or suggest some health policy reforms.  Somebody is out there doing all of the above.  We are many!
         Does the impoverished always have to settle for less, because that is what s/he deserves? 
Well, I hear someone say "That's your country.  Good job!".  Actually, I admire those who have been attracted to go carry out their mission else where.  I name a few here, Peru, Nicaragua, Kenya,...these are countries where my dear friends have found the "realization of their dreams".  Oh! here is the best part, it is not a two-week medical excursion anymore!
        Every year over 1000 medical doctors are released on the market of Lubumbashi, DRC.  A fraction of them finds a job other the medically related, a fraction leaves the country for better opportunities, a fraction stays because didn't have the opportunity to leave, and a fraction stays because they want to.  However, almost none has returned from abroad, namely USA to come practice!  It is unthinkable to do such a thing.

But you know something...