BENI: Before leaving, MONUSCO installs a permanent source of electricity at the Kamando General Hospital
“Electrical power in a hospital changes everything.”
The chief medical officer of Kamango General Reference Hospital, Dr Junior Ngonzi could not hide his joy when leading a MONUSCO team from Beni to visit the electrification project for the hospital in question, as they were standing at the hospital corridors.
With one hundred and twenty (120) beds and sixty employees, Kamango General Reference Hospital is the major medical facility in this part of Beni territory. Its initial facility was built in 2008. At the time, there was no electricity.
Doctor Junior Ngonzi still remembers: “It was so difficult; it was too dark at night. Each patient would bring their own lamp. Sometimes we used the generator. Since we didn't have enough fuel, we had to turn it off often, even when we didn't need it for emergencies. Devices were not working at full speed.
They waited until 2014 when MONUSCO blue helmet base in Kamango was set up for the hospital to have access to electricity.
“The power supply came from MONUSCO partners who settled here in 2014. Their base was in the neighborhood. We negotiated with them to help us with part of their electrical power and they accepted; an electric cable was then connected to carry the power from the UN base to the hospital, ” further said the doctor.
So, the announcement of the closure in January of the MONUSCO base in Kamango in mid-2023 plunged into psychosis the hospital leadership. The announcement brought Dr Junior back to the first years of ordeal after the opening of this hospital when patients used to bring their own lamps to provide lighting.
Fortunately, these events of sad recollection and fears for the survival of the hospital he runs will be averted.
A responsible withdrawal
In Beni, MONUSO Civil Affairs section financed the project to electrify the major Kamango public health facility to prevent the locality from sinking into darkness after the departure of the blue helmets.
Thanks to this project, Kamango general reference hospital is equipped with solar panels and a generator.
“We have ensured the supply of electricity for the hospital to have light, and to be able to make their devices operational. Since May 25, most of the facility has been operational, with functional administrative offices, intensive care unit and operating room”, applauded the chief medical officer.
Dr Junior Ngonzi is pleased that his hospital is now self-sufficient in electrical power.
“We are now independent with the solar panels and batteries installed in the general hospital, it is a cause for satisfaction,” he said.
Patients, first beneficiaries
When asked what electricity brings to a hospital like his, the chief medical officer proudly specified “It changes everything”, he went on to say: “promptness in medical actions. Access to oxygen for emergencies is now guaranteed, without having to refer to other health clinics. Promptness is one of the key elements for success in a medical action.”
Florida, 33, is also happy. Arrived at the hospital for treatment against malaria, the young woman assures us that having a hospital supplied with electricity reassures the patients.
“The facility is well lit at night. And all day too. We feel better taken care of. We are in better conditions,” she said.
The electrification project, which should last three months, also concerns the administrative building of the Watalinga chiefdom as well as the premises that house the Congolese police and army in Kamango. It is worth US$50,000. As part of the same project launched at the beginning of April, the Kamango general reference hospital will be provided with medical equipment to improve patients’ care. The locality of Kamango, the capital of the chiefdom of Watalinga, is located about 80 kilometers from the city of Beni. It will have a little over 18,000 inhabitants who are potential patients of this hospital.