On September 28, 2017, the first stone was laid by Princess Carolina of Monaco, launching the construction of a new Health Center. In its completion, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate.
There have been a few posts on our website and several articles written online (with a simple google search) regarding this project. To minimize repetition, we thought that maybe a little background on the project would be helpful.
Prior to the eruption of Nyiragongo in 2002, HEAL Africa was charged with the supervision of the government Health Center, which was located at about 500m north, of the hospital. Unfortunately, the Health Center was consumed by lava.
The government asked HEAL Africa to reopen and rebuild the Health Center, with HEAL Africa as the owner and manager. Without the resources to rebuild a new health center, HEAL Africa decided to start a small clinic, a “health center”, within the hospital that was recognized by the government. All the staff who were previously working in the government health center were transferred to HEAL. The health center, though supervised by the government, would now be part of HEAL Africa.
A Health center must offer curative and preventive health care. At the time our center only had the capacity to provide preventive care (immunization, antenatal, postnatal, family planning, PMTCT). But we had bigger dreams. And there had been many conversations, exploring ideas, about having a health center that would offer comprehensive (full) primary healthcare.
When Princess Carolina from Monaco visited, we expressed this need to her. She agreed the need was worth funding.
A couple of months after she returned to Monaco, Dr Neil Weitzig and his wife, Gwen, were invited to attend the AMADE Mondiale annual meeting in Monaco, France. During that meeting, Dr Neil presented the need to have a full service health center at HEAL. The project was officially accepted for funding by AMADE Mondiale.
After the project initiation ceremony marked by laying of the stone, it was another year before the project was effectively launched. In April 2019, Dr Justin, HEAL Africa’s CEO traveled to Monaco to attend the AMADE Mondiale meeting. The project was again presented and discussed. Finally, money was sent to start the building. Completion was scheduled for May 2020, and the Princess Carolina of Monaco would travel to Goma to officially open the health center. Due to several factors (Ebola and COVID), the construction took more time than planned. We are sad that Princess Carolina could not attend to initiate the opening of the health center.