The idea of starting up a pharmacy in Mumosho was suggested to us by local people more than six months ago. Our first reaction was to push back. We doubted we would find a qualified person to manage the buying and dispensing of medicine and we were unsure that a pharmacy would be able to repay a loan.
However, the nurse at the Mumosho clinic told us very clearly that he did not have the medical supplies to meet local needs. He said that people had to walk 25 kilometres into Bukavu to buy medicines that were sometimes urgent. He too thought that a pharmacy would be good for the community and offered his support.
Then we met Janine. She is thoughtful and intelligent and she cares. She is also a very experienced nurse having spent many years working at the Panzi hospital. She made it clear she wanted to manage a pharmacy in Mumosho.
The clinic offered to collaborate with her and so we worked on a proposal and agreed a two year loan so that she could repay slowly and not put too much pressure on profits. She also made a list of medicines in collaboration with the clinic that cannot be dispended without a prescription.
The pharmacy is now up and running. I was sat inside the shop chatting with her when someone asked her for help with an upset stomach, then someone else came to her with a headache. She talked things through with the people. She doesn’t do anything lightly.
Word has got around and a clinic several kilometres away is now buying from her, as of course is the local clinic. Carefully and with grace Janine is making a difference.