The human capital of a country is the foundation and the main driver of its development. There is no greater asset for an individual’s development than his health. Among the several aspects pertaining to the health of members of a community, access to emergency care is arguably the most basic right. It’s a fundamental need at the core of the right to life. Communities lacking access to adequate emergency care are vulnerable, non resilient and deprived of a path to a sustainable development.
There is currently no integrated emergency care system in the DR Congo, a low income country of 80 million souls in central Africa. Countless avoidable death occur due to lack of basic emergency care. The probability of dying between 15 and 60 years old in the country stands at a staggering 281/232 (m/f) per 1000 inhabitants (77/45 in Australia)(WHO, 2016). Sustainable development becomes quite uncertain in this context.
There are a proven solutions towards building and strengthening health systems in LMICs, namely a strong political will, security and stability, economic development, rational strategic planning, capacity building...Global health is undeniably a pivotal sector in this endeavour. The financial, technical and logistical support from international organisations in LMICs has yielded remarkable results over the years, namely the eradication of some diseases, the high immunisation rates, lower mortality rates due to malaria and HIV...Global health is however a double edged sword; several aspects need thoughtful reset. Using lessons learned from the NGO HandUp Congo Emergency Medicine Education project and the current international efforts in the fight against Ebola in the DRC, we will discuss some pearls and pitfalls in Global Health interventions.
About Dr Ken Diango
Dr Diango is a Congolese physician, trained and based in Cape Town, South Africa, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in Emergency Medicine. His research focuses on the development of emergency care systems in the DRC, training of community first aid workers as the first link in the chain of care. Dr Diango is passionate about the development of emergency care in the DRC, a nation of 80 million people with no paramedics and few ambulances. He is an active member of the DRC Emergency Medicine Association of which he is the Secretary General. He is committed to the promotion of emergency care in his country through the training and organisation of appropriate emergency medical assistance systems. He is a team member of HandUp Congo’s “Building a Healthy Congo” initiative, and has provided training to doctors and nurses at several DRC hospitals in collaboration with Australian Emergency Medicine specialist, Dr Vera Sistenich. Vera is the team leader of this initiative. For information see https://www.handupcongo.org/emergency-medicine.