Imagine that a town the size of Baie Comeau, Quebec or Gravenhurst, Ontario only had one doctor on duty.
That is the situation of people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the healthcare system has still not recovered from years of conflict and chaos.
HEAL Africa is located in Goma, a city in the eastern lakes region of the country known for bandits, rebels and an active volcano. In this difficult setting, HEAL Africa is a place of hope and healing.
Their hospital located in Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a regional centre that attracts people from quite far away in the vast and troubled country it serves.
Women who have survived horrific assaults and need surgery and rehabilitation find hope here and a new beginning.
Children with congenital problems and birth defects come here to receive appropriate care by trained professionals and they get a new start at life.
And all kinds of other Congolese children and adults come to the hospital and its associated clinics and receive life-changing care.
One patient who benefitted in 2016 is Kashama Mayaya, a 16-year-old student living in Tshibala, Central Kasai province. From the hospital’s report: “He was born with a cleft lip. From his birth, he felt stigmatized by society. In September 2016, the HEAL Africa team repaired his cleft lip for free thanks to the HPIC donation.”
Another child treated was Lucien Widuhaye, a two-month old baby with hydrocephaly. He was rescued by the HEAL Africa team as well last year.
For more than a decade, Health Partners International of Canada has been sending containers of medical and surgical supplies to help the hospital help these people.
“Getting drugs and supplies is difficult,” writes the organization in their most recent report to HPIC. Having greater access to medicines helps the hospital help the most vulnerable patients.
“Without donations, the hospital could not operate,” they wrote in their report.
HPIC would like to acknowledge the contribution of two organizations whose support has made this project possible: Medtronic Canada, which is the major donor of products to HEAL Africa since the beginning of the project, and Unifor Social Justice Fund, which has sponsored this project since 2005.
HPIC has a liaison in country, Connie Smith, who took us on a video tour of some of the wards: https://youtu.be/4jARY0JL1ao
And Dr. Sylvain, staff doctor, wanted to thank HPIC’s donors and the patients wanted to send their blessings in this video: https://youtu.be/gTA55_MbaIQ