NBA all-star Dikembe Mutombo recently made his first trip to Israel’s Sheba Medical Center in the hopes of bringing Sheba’s cutting-edge medical care to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019. Sheba is the largest and most comprehensive hospital in Israel and the Middle East.
Mutombo met with Sheba’s world-renowned medical experts to discuss this potential collaboration. He also visited with sick Israeli and Palestinian children, signed basketballs and gave away T-shirts to patients and fans. He even got to experience firsthand the virtual reality technology at Sheba Rehabilitation Hospital.
The shared goal between the partners is to bring Sheba’s advanced medical knowledge to the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital – named after Mutombo’s mother – which the NBA star founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007 as a project formed from his long-time passion for healthcare.
“I believe that healthcare is a human right. It doesn’t matter where you come from. I believe that everyone who is born, that is living on this earth, should have access to healthcare,” Mutombo said.
“I have been greatly inspired by my visit to Sheba Medical Center and have seen some amazing technology. I believe that Sheba’s humanitarian mission staff will be a great help to my people at the hospital I built in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’m sure I will be coming back for more meetings in the future.”
Sheba’s leadership team is honored by the future partnership, as it reflects its mission to provide healthcare to the Middle East and the entire world. Sheba has a long history of humanitarian efforts, such as its work in Zambia amidst a devastating cholera outbreak.
Mutombo met with senior members of Sheba Medical Center’s staff, including professor Arnon Afek, associate director general and acting director of Sheba General Hospital, Dr. Itai Pessach, director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, and professor Elhanan Bar-On, who serves as director of Israel’s Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response.
Bar-On affirmed Sheba Medical Center’s excitement to work with another hospital and the NBA player: “We feel that there’s a lot in common in what we do and what is done by Mr. Mutombo, and I think we can definitely collaborate and take this to very beautiful places.”