About the Author: Todd Pierce serves as Public Affairs Advisor in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
For refugees around the world, deciding to return home is one of the most momentous decisions they make. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), lack of medical care can deter refugees who might otherwise go home. Last year, a donation from the State Department’s Julia V. Taft Refugee Fund enabled a non-governmental organization to rehabilitate a hospital that serves a region of 400,000 people. Refugees from the area are slowly starting to return from neighboring countries.
On May 6, 2009, U.S. Ambassador Garvelink formally reopened Moba Hospital in the DRC’s southern Katanga state. An audience of 250 people, including doctors, nurses, local officials and area residents gathered to mark the ceremony.
The Ethiopia-based NGO Africa Humanitarian Action used the $20,000 it received from the Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to install windows, lights, doors and new walls in three hospital buildings, as well as repair the roofs and repaint the facility. Patients are now recovering in a refurbished ward – equipped with mosquito nets. Good quality, affordable and readily available medical care is one of the keys to successful refugee reintegration.