Indigent Care at Good Shepherd Hospital
Founded with Christian charity as a guiding principle, the Good Shepherd Hospital – a key service element in the IMCK system – accepts people who arrive in a health crisis who may have little or no means to pay. Providing indigent care is not typical for hospitals in the Democratic Republic of Congo and exemplifies the Christian spiritual foundation on which IMCK is built. The IMCK Chaplain, Rev. Jacqueline (Jacky) Ntumba, is an advocate for those in desperate need of help, and she is especially sensitive and active in helping children.
The following story is unfortunately a frequent occurrence at the Good Shepherd Hospital. Early in May 2021, Pastor Jacky wrote:
“We share with you once again the current situation on orphaned [or abandoned] children here at IMCK. A woman was brought in sick with gangrene in one arm, and also pregnant 7 months. [She arrived with an older daughter.] After the operation to amputate part of her arm, she delivered premature twins.
As you know, in this area twins are usually named Kanku and Mbuya. After a few days one of her twins, Mbuya, died. Then, two weeks later the mother’s health worsened and she died. IMCK is caring for this premature infant and her guardian older sister, whom we are feeding since the death of their mother. We cannot keep silent in such a situation. We always ask you to plead for assistance in such a case.”
Even in the United States, medical institutions that provide care for the indigent often struggle to cover their expenses. Staff must be paid, supplies procured, and repairs made at institutions. The fiscal challenges are even greater in developing countries which lack strong government support.
The Friends of IMCK organization was founded ten years ago to supplement many such service challenges at IMCK, primarily through an endowment fund established for this purpose. When individuals and organizations give to the IMCK Endowment, they strengthen the subsidies the endowment can annually provide to IMCK. Many churches donate to the IMCK Endowment and the proceeds from this fund support indigent care. These donations help IMCK meet payrolls and enable compassionate providers like Pastor Jacky provide comfort to suffering patients.
Pastor Jacky has recently reported that baby Kanku, the surviving twin, is still in the hospital nursery. The eyes of this little infant indicate she is thriving. Her older sister, Ntumba Mado, is 13 years old and sleeps at the hospital near her sister. Ntumba comes to Pastor Jacky’s home to be given food. Jacky says the supplies for the baby and older sister are the “service of the chaplaincy.”
Jacky noted that no family members of the two girls have returned this month. This behavior is common since the family usually lives hours away with no transportation and/or has no funds to pay for this family catastrophe. They are afraid to return when they have no way to pay.
Pastor Jacky indicates that the costs for the mother’s surgery, delivery of twins, and hospital care totaled $437, and the food for Ntumba and supplies for the baby total about $95 so far. As standard practice, a bill for the baby’s care will be assessed when the child is able to be released from the hospital. But the ability of the family to pay remains a question.
The simple act of donating to the IMCK Endowment helps children like Kanku and Ntumba and lifts a big burden for their families. Christian service and hope are the tap root of IMCK; your donations help anchor and nourish that tap root.
Please consider giving generously to the IMCK Endowment. Your donation will change lives and provide a ray of hope for our sisters and brothers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.”
- Deuteronomy 15:7