As I write this, my father-in-law is back in the Congo. He served there as a missionary and surgeon for three decades, retiring in 1997. He goes back periodically under the auspices of the denominational mission society to help assess the needs of the mission station hospitals and the Congolese doctors and nurses he helped to train.
I would suspect that things in that northwest corner of the Congo, the Ubangi province, are in some ways better than they were when he first went there. There are local medical providers and there has been much more education than when he began there with his wife and children, when my husband was just eight years old. Prenatal education and care is better than it was. But in other ways, some things have not changed. Civil war has meant that some of those hospitals were stripped of supplies and equipment. Roads to get patients to medical care are in even worse condition in places than forty years ago. Poverty is still the norm.
This is why serious commitment to the Millenium Development Goals is so critical. In this place, eradication of poverty and hunger and maternal and child health care are primary: the challenges of living in this place are many, and it is the weakest of the populace who suffer most greatly.
As powerful as the witness of people like my husband's family are, as deeply important as their work has been, it is only when there is a global push to meet these goals that long-term sustainable progress will happen.
What to do? Pray. Advocate. Support. Do not be silent. We can make this happen.