Hospital in Zaire to Be Built by Jewish and Christian Groups

A unique partnership of Jews and Christians continents apart and the governments of three nations is building a modern 180-bed hospital in Kinshasa, Zaire, it was announced jointly Tuesday by the United States Agency for Tuesday by the United States Agency for International Development (AID) and Hadassah.

AID administrator M. Peter McPherson and Hadassah president Ruth Popkin announced that the hospital will serve 150,000 residents. The facility is under construction on the site of a small hospital run by the Kimbanguist Church, a Christian sect. The original hospital was founded in 1973 and was the first to be built in Zaire since the nation achieved independence in 1960.

The new hospital is a joint project of AID, the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Kimbanguist Church and the governments of Israel and Zaire. A $1.5 million AID grant signed Tuesday will complete construction and the equipping of the hospital. The International Cooperation Department of the Israel Foreign Ministry will pay expenses of volunteer Hadassah Medical Organization personnel from Israel who will work with the hospital’s Zairian staff.

HADASSAH MEDICAL PROGRAMS IN AFRICA

Popkin noted that Hadassah has conducted cooperative medical programs in Africa for almost three decades and said, “Our work in Zaire is part of the Hadassah tradition of concern for the quality of life of every human being on this planet.”

The Hadassah Medical Center has conducted medical programs — primarily in eye care — in several African nations since 1959. The Center also trains public health doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel from a number of countries on the African continent.

Dr. Zvi Stern, deputy director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, and Eli Mor, administrator of the Hadassah University Hospital, were instrumental in organizing the project and bringing together the private and government agencies involved. Mor will serve as the new hospital’s first administrator.

The new facility in Kinshasa will occupy seven buildings – some already in operation. It will include departments for pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics, surgery and internal medicine and will be equipped with operating theaters, recovery room, diagnostic laboratories and intensive care and X-ray units.

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