In northwest Congo, nurses are the primary source of medical care for most people, where doctors are sparse and located in centralized hospitals. Nurses serve both at rural community clinics and regional hospitals. Unlike in the US, many Congolese nurses prescribe medicine, deliver babies, and perform surgeries, often in very challenging conditions, in addition to running public health programs in their communities.
Karawa is home to the area’s main hospital. It is also the administrative center for a health system that serves roughly 800,000 people in northwestern DR Congo. In Karawa, two collaborating nursing schools provide associate’s and bachelor’s level nursing degrees, with clinical experience both at the Karawa hospital and at nearby rural clinics.
- ITM Institut Technique Médical – Medical Technical Institute (high school level)
- ISTM Institut Supérieur des Techniques Médicales – Higher Institute of Medical Techniches (college level)
The Karawa nursing schools provide critical training to both current and future nurses throughout this area where both improved medical care and preventive community health education are urgently needed. Students are supported solely by their families who often work as subsistence farmers. Education costs often become burdensome, causing students drop out. Those who persevere are challenged to pay their tuition, go without food, study without electricity, and rely on memory.
After graduation, nurses go on to work in either a hospital or a clinic run by the CEUM, which is in a region overflowing with potential but lacks the basic infrastructure that allows for convenient access to medical care, clean water, and protected living quarters. Many nurses function as independent practitioners, running clinics with physician oversight only once per month.
By supporting nursing education, you will help keep these hardworking students in school, support school resources, and change communities for generations to come.
Nadej is a 21 year old student in her third year of the lower-level Nursing school. She wants to be a nurse because she has always had a passion to help others.
She lives in a dormitory with other students, which is not equipped with running water or electricity. Nadej wakes up at 5:30 every morning, walks to fetch water, and prepares her own food, if she has it. Some nights, she studies by candlelight and goes to bed hungry.
She is supported by her parents, who made the tough decision of which child to send to school. Nadej fears that her education will be too burdensome for her family, and that she may have to drop out of school. But she continues to work hard, and hopes that as a Nurse she will be able to support her family.
Nadej is grateful for the opportunity to be in nursing school and work towards a brighter future.