The east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been undergoing an Ebola epidemic for around 6 months now. In collaboration with its partners, the Ministry for Health has mobilised to ensure free healthcare for the population. The objective is to avoid any infected people not having access to care due to lack of funds and infecting others. This free healthcare initiative aims to break the Ebola chain of infection.
In Beni, the Ebola epidemic is depriving people of their income, since the majority of the population depends on the fields to make a living. Through fear of contamination, they are no longer farming and cannot ensure the education of their children, pay for medical care or even food. Free healthcare is a great relief for these people, who have been deprived of all their means to survival. Now, everyone has access to healthcare without having to spend a single franc. “Healthcare is an essential”, a young person in my neighbourhood stated. “We have free access to care, allowing the most vulnerable to receive it”.
Now, everyone has access to free healthcare in Beni. It is a good way of fighting against the Ebola virus as people no longer have to hide from the disease! If a person has a fever, they can go straight for a diagnosis rather than staying at home, worrying about paying for care. If the person has been infected, they will benefit from free care at the Ebola Treatment Centre.
As well as fighting against Ebola, children whose parents do not have the money can now receive care. For example, a friend who had been suffering from a hernia for a long time had the opportunity to be treated and returned to good health. Now that the population is accustomed to free health care, it will be difficult to break it to them that it is no longer free and that they will have to start paying again. It is important to make people understand that this free healthcare will not last forever.
Free healthcare to fight Ebola in DRC
Dear parents, dear young people, dear children, now that healthcare is free, let’s make the most of the opportunity! Let’s head to the nearest hospital to receive appropriate care whilst it is free. We, the Young Reporters of Beni, congratulate the Congolese government and its partners for having considered the people affected by the Ebola virus, and for having facilitated access to healthcare.
Translated from French by Amber Sherman