Congo Network Mulls Health Care in Time of COVID-19

Surgeons at IMCK
Surgeons at IMCK Courtesy Friends of IMCK

Don’t miss the two-part Health Session Oct. 3 and Oct. 10! You will hear new and surprising information.

Which country had the better response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. or the Democratic Republic of Congo? You might be surprised at the answer!

This and other aspects of human health will be examined at a two-part virtual session, “Health Care in the Time of COVID-19,” presented across 10 time zones simultaneously by the Congo Mission Network. The dates are Saturday, Oct, 3, and Saturday, Oct. 10. Start times are 11 a.m. EDT in the U.S., and 4 p.m. Kinshasa time and 5 p.m. Kananga time in Congo.

All are welcome and admission is free, but registration is needed to obtain a link to the sessions. To register, visit

“Health Care in the Time of COVID-19” is based on more than a century of American and Congolese Presbyterians working together to provide medical care in the DRC. Speakers will include physicians and other public health specialists in the U.S. and Congo, as well as survivors of COVID-19 in both countries.

Dr. Larry Sthreshley will speak at the sessions, “Health Care at the Time of COVID-19,” Oct. 3 and 10.

Dr. Larry Sthreshley, a world leader in in the development of public health systems, will offer a comparison of the DRC and the US in their approach to COVID-19, along with other health issues.

“Many things have not gone well for Congo, but it appears the Congo’s handling of Covid-19 has been impressive,” said Sthreshley, who is health liaison for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and Congo director for IMA World Health.  For example, he said, as of Sept. 8, there were 262 deaths due to COVID-19 in Congo. In the U.S., by comparison, there were 193,016 deaths. That figure is now over 200,000.

Tim Reynolds of Knoxville, Tenn., and the Rev. Susie Grade of Denver, Colo., are  survivors of COVID-19. Each will tell their own personal stories.

Dr. Makambo, Drs. Richard and Judith Brown
Dr. Jacques Makambo, Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Judith Brown will tell the history of Presbyterian health work in Congo

The history of Presbyterian health work in Congo began more than a century ago. Veteran health care providers Dr. Richard Brown, a physician, Dr. Judith Brown, a social anthropologist, and Dr. Jacques Makambo Badibanga, a physician, will trace that story from 1906 to the present. The Browns served overseas for more than 30 years, Richard as a physician and Judith as a social anthropologist. Dr. Makambo is the past medical director for the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa’s Department of Health.

Dr. Pacio Tshianza, Dr. Mimi Kanda
Dr. Pacio Tshianza, Dr. Mimi Kanda discuss racism in healthcare

The issues of racism and bigotry are a painful aspect of healthcare systems. In the Oct. 10 segment, physicians from the U.S. and Congo will discuss the impact of racism, tribalism and American paternalism on healthcare. They are Dr. Pacio Tshianza Mikobi, medical health coordinator of the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC), and Dr. Mireille (Mimi) Kanda of Washington, D.C. She is senior advisor to the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation and the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa.

Dr. Andre-Jacques Neusy, Dr. Serge Makolo discuss the post-COVID world.
Dr. Andre-Jacques Neusy, Dr. Serge Makolo discuss the post-COVID world.

Finally, health providers must already consider the challenges and opportunities of the post-COVID world. Physicians from the U.S. and Congo will tackle those issues too. They will be Dr. Andre-Jacques Neusy, professor at the New York University School of Medicine, and Dr. Serge Makolo, director of Institut Médical Chrétien du Kasai at Tshikaji, DRC.

The presentations will be in English with French translation. Viewers are invited to submit questions.