United Methodists Making Medical Care More Affordable in the Congo

Solange Cabwene (in blue shirt), a mother of two, brought her children to the United Methodist Irambo Health Center in Bukavu, Congo, for treatment for malnutrition. She joined The United Methodist Church’s Vulnerable Association of Savings and Credit to help pay for her medical bills. “This helped me because the association gave me a credit (loan) and today I start selling embers, and my two children (will) not relapse,” she said. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.

The United Methodist Church in Congo is helping make medical treatment more affordable for the country’s most vulnerable.

The Vulnerable Association of Savings and Credit helps members pay lower costs at United Methodist hospitals and encourages self-sufficiency.

A group of United Methodist hospitals started the savings and credit organization in 2018 to assist those living in poverty with medical treatment. It requires members to contribute a lump sum or agree to invest a set amount for at least six months, said Kanku Mubuto, a vice president of the Vulnerable Association of Savings and Credit in Bukavu.

After six months, members start to benefit. When there is a need for hospital care, the savings and credit institution pays half of the bill. The members also begin earning interest on their money. The association will provide microloans to help members start small businesses, such as selling fish, corn flour, tomatoes, sugar or embers for cooking.

There are five credit offices set up at health centers and hospitals operated by The United Methodist Church.

Already, the United Methodist model is generating imitators, said Dr. Damba André, who practices at the Amani Health Center run by Pentecostal churches in Bukavu.

“It is a good initiative that the hospitals of The (United) Methodist Church started here in Bukavu, and … we have just imitated this initiative,” he said.

Solange Cabwene, a mother of two, brought her children to the United Methodist Irambo Health Center in Bukavu for treatment for malnutrition.

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Source: United Methodist News