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Atlanta Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo has announced that he will donate $2 million toward the building of a planned $44 million hospital and medical center in his home town of Kinshasa, Congo (formerly Zaire). The announcement was made at a June 26 dinner kicking-off the fundraising of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which is planning and building the hospital.
The basketball star created the foundation last year to direct attention and funds to health care concerns in Congo, where children die routinely of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and tetanus that have virtually disappeared in developed countries with widely available immunization programs. Infections like typhoid, caused by poor sanitary conditions, are also a serious threat to children and adults.
”I’ve had an opportunity to live very well here in America – and to succeed,” said Mutombo. “But my success would be pointless if I forgot to look back at where I came from and help those who are still struggling for basic medical care.”
Mutombo hopes to break ground on the primary care hospital in the summer of 2001. An elementary school and recreational facility are also planned.