The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Homemade solutions

We were seeing lives lost because of a lack of [intravenous] serum," Bishop Ngoy Kasukuti says. Serum production had been set back by nearly two years when war broke out in 1998 across the Congo, preventing a Tanzanian technician from coming to install the equipment. Until recently the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Congo's medical clinics had to import intravenous solution for a costly $2 a bottle, with constant shipping delays.

Now the church makes intravenous serum for only 30 cents per half-liter bottle. Producing 120 to 160 bottles daily, the church offers some to the larger medical community for $1 each. "We're expressing our Christian love, using the gifts we have," says Pierre Mwenze, the medical assistant and nurse who runs the program.

In the future, Mwenze hopes to produce anesthesia, topical and oral antibiotics, and a balm to heal the cracked lips of AIDS patients. If that is to happen, the medical ministry will need more staff. "Right now Mr. Mwenze is serving as technician, pharmacist and record-keeper," Kasukuti explains.


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