Jacques Courtejoie arrived in Congo in 1959, just before the country became independent in 1960. He began working as a medical doctor at the hospital of Kangu in Mayombe, a wooded region in the province of Lower Congo. Congo’s independence led to new relationships between Congolese and Europeans. This also had its consequences in the field of health care. New investments in education and prevention became key priorities.
Jacques Courtejoie saw a number of important needs and opportunities, both in terms of educating the people about health and with respect to the training of Congolese nurses and doctors. In 1966, he founded a Congolese NGO with the aim of taking a number of specific initiatives in collaboration with a number of Congolese professionals.
The new Center for Health Promotion was to specialize in two areas. Firstly, the Center specialized in the conception, testing, production and distribution of simple tools for basic education about health, following methods that were adapted to the local cultural context. Secondly, in order to support nurses and doctors, the Center developed and published a series of textbooks that were adapted to the daily realities of their work.
Initially, the Center was financially supported by the Congolese government and later by the Belgian Cooperation and the World Health Organization. The political instability of the country caused a major part of this support to disappear in the 1990s, but several international NGOs and private donors have continued to support the Center until this day. This continued support is essential for the activities of the Center.
During many years the Center has been led by Clément Nzungu Mavinga, who passed away in 2015. Visit the page dedicated to the memory of Clément.
At this moment the Center is being led by Roger Mabiala Zimuangu (director). Jacques Courtejoie remains associated with the Center as a technical advisor.