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from issue no. 03 - 2009

Charity is intelligent

by Davide Malacaria

Maria Masson is a consecrated laywoman and for years has been head of the health sector of BDOM (Bureau Diocésaine des Oeuvres Médicales). She has an intelligent and tenacious look. She explains that over the years, and even through two wars, the diocese of Bukavu gradually found itself running 10 of the 17 hospitals in South Kivu, in addition to 100 health centers. She tells us of the various BDOM health initiatives, from the in-house manufacture of medicines to the detailed program to combat AIDS. But surely the most interesting is la mutuelle. Treatment here is paid, she explains, nor could it be otherwise given the economic situation of the country. So BDOM has conceived a low-cost health insurance, guaranteeing for the poorer classes, after a minimum payment, a refund covering up to 80 percent of health care. An idea so effective that it is being considered in other dioceses in the country and by the government itself. “As a diocese we try to take on particularly needy people, raising funds, also abroad, so as for us to pay for them,” she continues. The importance of this system is that it is not dependent on foreign funding, but is paid for by the contributions of the recipients of the service. Also by asking members to take care of others, something about which the BDOM is striving to raise awareness. The associates of la mutuelle then hold meetings with supervisory powers. “This also fulfils an educative purpose: these meetings are a sort of school for democracy. In a young democracy like ours this aspect has its own importance”. The assemblies elect their own chairmen. “It can happen that in some, as has occurred, a Muslim gets elected...”.

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