“I believe that healthcare is a human right,” said Mutombo. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. I believe that everyone who is born and living on this earth should have access to healthcare.”
These heartfelt sentiments formed the foundation for Mutombo’s idea to have Sheba share its cutting-edge medical expertise with the doctors at Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital. While in Israel, he met with senior members of Sheba’s staff, including Prof. 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 Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, Director of Israel’s Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response.
On behalf of Sheba Medical Center’s team, Prof. Bar-On expressed an overall enthusiasm about working with the NBA champion and another hospital. He said, “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.”
As the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East, Sheba is an ideal partner for advancing Mutombo’s dream of bringing modern medical knowledge to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The leadership at Sheba Medical Center consistently demonstrates their commitment to providing healthcare around the globe, performing many humanitarian missions – such as assisting in Zambia during a disastrous outbreak of cholera.
In addition to exploring the potential for medical collaboration with Sheba, the NBA legend visited sick Israeli and Palestinian children, signed basketballs, and presented T-shirts to many excited patients and fans. He was also introduced to the progressive virtual reality technology at Sheba Rehabilitation Hospital and experienced some of the devices firsthand.
Before he left Israel, Dikembe Mutombo summed up his positive experience, “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.”