Having access to specialized eye care is far from obvious in the DR Congo. There is a serious shortage of prevention programmes, trained personnel, infrastructures, state of the art surgical equipment, medicines, …
In a country as large as the DRC, Light for the World has to make choices which explains that we are concentrating our efforts on the south of the country. Between 2009 and 2019, Light for the World contributed to the construction of four specialized eye clinics in three of the nine southern provinces: Sainte-Yvonne (Lubumbashi) and Saint-Joseph (Likasi) in the province of Haut-Katanga, Mwangaza (Kolwezi) in the Lualaba province and Saint-Raphaël (Mbuji-Mayi) in the province of Kasaï-Oriental. In the meantime, these clinics have developed into highly efficient and effective facilities which serve as a model for accessible eye care in the whole region.
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It is essential to establish an eye care centre in the province of Kasaï Central. The province covers 96,000 km2 (3x Belgium) and has a population of more than 3 million. Kananga is the capital of the province with about 1.5 million inhabitants.
The population of both the city and the province is poor. Traces or urbanization are visible in Kananga even if most buildings are old and decrepit. Kananga used to be the most important city of the whole Kasai region and still acts as a magnet for the population of the region, meaning that it will be relatively easy to refer patients from all over the province and even of the neighbouring province to Kananga.
Eye care needs
The provincial health care department and the diocese confirm that it is by no means an exaggeration to assert that there is no really operational eye clinic or eye unit in the region. Hardly any eye surgeries are performed. There is an eye care unit as well as an ophthalmologist in the IMCK Institute (Institut Médical Chrétien de Kananga). It is an ill-functioning unit due to the lack of support. Light for the World’s support shall add considerably to the eye care provided in the region.