Houston Rockets’ Dikembe Mutombo is originally from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since entering the NBA in 1991, he has used his high-profile status to focus on humanitarian work and improve the lives of those less fortunate. Dikembe has made quite an impact and has been widely recognized for his efforts, including being named the “most generous athlete in the world” by FoxSports.com and being highlighted by President Bush during his State of the Union Address in January 2007.
In 1997 Dikembe created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, a charitable organization created to improve the health, education and quality of life for people in his homeland of Kinshasa. On September 15, 2001, this mission became a reality with the groundbreaking of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center, a new 10-acre, 300-bed facility dedicated in the memory of Dikembe’s mother. This new hospital is much needed in a country where years of civil unrest throughout the 1990s have severely damaged the health delivery infrastructure.
The construction is complete, and next week on July 17, the Biamba Maria Mutombo Hospital will open, providing care to the nation’s poorest residents and training its health professionals with the latest innovations in health care. This hospital is one of the few modern hospitals in the DRC. And with support from Nothing But Nets and Vestergaard Frandsen, the hospital will have enough long-lasting insecticide treated nets to cover each and every bed.
In a country where malaria is one of the leading causes of death, and five percent of the 4.5 million people infected by malaria last year died of the disease, these nets are a critical tool for saving lives.
Nothing But Nets will partner the Dikembe’s foundation throughout the year to encourage individuals to send nets and save lives. Visit the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation’s website to learn more about Dikembe and his commitment to the global effort to combat malaria. Stay tuned for more stories from Dikembe himself later this summer!