Karawa Nursing School Project
Preparing nurses in northwest Congo
Nurses are the backbone of health care in Equateur province, DR Congo. In the medical system of the CEUM (Communaute Évangélique de l’Ubangi-Mongala), fewer than a dozen doctors are available, so much of the care depends on over 300 nurses spread throughout the 5 hospitals and 94 village clinics. Most of the clinics are staffed by nurses, with a doctor from the local reference hospital visiting periodically for oversight and resourcing.
The Institut Technique Medical is a nursing school operated by the CEUM, located in Karawa on the campus of the largest hospital. It offers a four-year technical program that is approximately equivalent to our RN degree, and has about 60 students. Most are young men, though the number of women is increasing. Congolese girls and young women have fewer educational opportunities than boys and young men. The school runs on the most threadbare of shoestrings. For most courses there is only one textbook that all students share. The learning lab has very few materials. And many potential nurses never even enter the school because they can’t pay the $100 yearly tuition.
Madeleine Ngbenzego Kafi, a fourth-year student at ITM, is married with five children. Her education has meant sacrifices for her husband and family, and Madeleine works very hard. She does it because she wants to save lives. She also wants to be able to contribute to the support of her family.
You can help students like Madeleine. The Paul Carlson Partnership has now launched a new initiative to raise funds for the school. Behind this project is the energy of two nurse-administrator volunteers who went over to Congo on a PCP mission team in April, visited the school, and talked at length with its leaders. They came back convinced that we must step in and partner with the Karawa school, for the good of the 650,000 people who look to the CEUM system for health care.
The most urgent needs are for student scholarships, which cost $100 a year; books and other learning materials, costing $50 a year per student; and room and board, costing $335 each year. Other needs include learning lab materials, solar-powered electricity, upgrades to the dormitories, and support for faculty salaries.
Most students in the nursing school come from families whose annual income is less than the cost of one year’s tuition. We believe that the students and their school are crucially needed. Nurses, other medical professionals, friends who simply care about the people of Congo, we need your partnership! For PCP this is not a short-term campaign — it’s a long-term commitment. If you represent a nursing school that would like to explore some sort of partnership in this program, please contact us.