COVID is hitting Goma very hard - by far the worst it has been since the pandemic started. What we are hearing from Wellness Clinic Director Chantal Mandro and our friends at World Relief is concerning and personal. We have had several staff sickened, some are still ill. At least one staff family member is hospitalized. At the local district hospital, six of the doctors are hospitalized with COVID. Chantal tells us that half of the families she knows in Goma have family members with COVID and that people are dying frequently. The entire city is in mourning.
We assume that the volcano eruption and subsequently forced evacuation of over 400,000 people in May was likely the catalyst for the current crisis.
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no vaccines available for people in Goma. We think less than 5% of the population has been vaccinated. The government is not sharing statistics about the number of sick and dead from COVID but it is not good.
In spite of these challenges, our health center stays open 24/7. In June, they saw more than 2,300 patients and delivered 99 babies. Our hospital is full. We screen and test for COVID. We try to transfer those who are critically sick to the local government hospital that has been designated just to treat COVID; others we treat on-site.
Please pray for us as we start to advocate to the U.S. government to commit to getting COVID vaccines to DRC and to Goma in particular. It is such a shame that we have extra vaccines in the United States and yet there are next to none in places like Goma. We have some connections with the government and the U.S. Embassy and are pushing them to get vaccines to Goma ASAP.