Bon Berger was started by two young Congolese medical graduates in 2003. They began by renting a 10ftx10ft room on the main road and began to see patients. Without any outside subsidy, the reputation of Bon Berger spread. Now, with the help of local charities and western visitors, Bon Berger operates out of a 24 bed capacity building and manages a staff of 20. To Bon Berger, health care is more than managing a clinic. Their concern for the poor has driven them to start other social activities such as literacy training for young children, vocational training for young adults and a micro-credit program.
Target area: Camp Luka
Camp Luka is a community of 120,000 situated in a city of over 8 million inhabitants. It is isolated by 2 streams that border it on each side requiring most goods to be transported in by foot. The lack of access to basic community healthcare has resulted high mortality rates particularly for children under 5 years old. Education is inaccessible and children are largely illiterate with no marketable skills. As they get older they are forced into crime, drugs and prostitution to make a living. Inadequate electricity and water make economic advancement a challenge resulting in a high unemployment rate. People live to survive the day with little hope for tomorrow.
Objectives of Bon Berger
(1) affordable and accessible healthcare;
(2) a qualified and adequately equipped staff and;
(3) to witness Christ through their actions.
As a result, their activities have grown beyond just health services.
Bon Berger Strategy
Bon Berger operates solely by what the community can pay for their healthcare. Many cannot afford the fees but the clinic is committed to serve them anyways. This presents a challenge limiting the clinic's capacity to stock medicine and supply. In addition, the staff are themselves from the surrounding community and therefore do not have other sources of income. Thus, Bon Berger takes the view that quality, accessible and sustainable health care will only be realized through a holistic approach to the community.
Delphin and Pierre have accepted these challenges and believe that they can be successful with the strategic help of the global community. The strategy is as follows:
(1) Capacity Building: Doctors and staff need to be trained. But workshops are expensive. They lack books and journals and have no access to the internet. So far we have financed education seminars and practicums for the nurses; one of the nurses is just now finishing off his nursing degree at the university; Pierre received training in ultrasound and; Delphin is starting his public health education in November. Future projects include:
1. Continue offer retraining for nurses and doctors (seminars offered in the city and practicums)
2. Subsidize a surgeon and possibly a paediatrician and gynaecologist to make weekly visits to the community and provide on-site training for the staff.
3. Install the internet on site to access online journals and materials and start a small library of reference materials at the clinic
(2) Capital projects: In the past outside funds have financed the building and most of the equipment. Future projects include:
1. Equipment: More equipment for the OR and maternity, a water tank, washing machine, Xray machine and better access to electricity.
2. Land and building: The big project on the horizon is purchasing more land and building another building which would include a dedicated maternity and and imaging room.
3. Church building partnership: Bon Berger is partnering with a church 2 blocks away to rebuild their building. The new building will be a center for their community teaching activities.
(3) Community development: The clinic's activities include:
1. Literacy training for children: Bon Berger employs local people to do this basic training. Accessories to this ministry is family counselling where they encourage the parents to find the money to get their child in school. They are also looking for scholarships for very poor families, particularly for children who seem to be excelling. The clinic has also directed certain donations of pens and paper to the local primary school to assist tin their activities.
2. Vocational training: So far the clinic has started a sewing school. They would like to extend this to basic training in construction trades and possible other simple skills for young people. Equipment is needed for their programs.
3. Micro-credit: In partnership with a successful indigenous program, Bon Berger will be starting a micro-loan program in the Camp Luka community.
4. Social fund: Bon Berger has a social fund that is available for the very poor to purchase much needed medicine.
5. Public health awareness: Bon Berger would like to be more active in the community preventing health problems and training families in good health nutritional practices.
Finally, Bon Berger believes that community transformation is key to improving living conditions as well as providing people with hope for the future, both now an into eternity. Delphin and Pierre are soliciting strategic help form the global community in their efforts. In addition to the aforementioned, Bon Berger is looking for local business investment committed to long-term support for the clinic. Examples might include a local guest house, restaurant or small manufacturer. They are also looking into the possibility of organizing solidarity groups that would pay monthly fees to the clinic not unlike an insurance scheme.