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AusHeal Blog

New Training Centre begins use immediately

The HEAL Africa Training Centre was a hive of activity in its first week of use.

Monday – clinical staff orientation with 60 people.
Tuesday – COSECSA surgical training (College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa). The trainee surgeons were excited to be the first group to use Training Room 1.
Wednesday – Family Medicine Training in Training Room 2. Note: HEAL Africa doctors training others.
Wednesday, Friday – Finance training to HAH Administrative personnel.
Thursday, Friday – English training for Nurses in the Main Lecture Room. This room can be divided in two with the sliding doors, creating smaller spaces.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Trauma workshop for COSECSA trainees.

Training Centre Opening

The HEAL Africa Training Centre, whose development was sponsored by AusHEAL, was officially opened and dedicated on Friday 12 April 2019.

Opening plaque acknowledging major contributors.
Friday morning began at Chapel with Paul Bakes (AusHEAL) preaching.
Invited guests, including the Mayor of Goma arrived.
Guests gathered on the floor below the new Training Centre as the architect & builder handed over the keys.
The Mayor of Goma cutting the official ribbon to open the Heal Africa Training Centre.
Prior to the ceremony, invited guests were given a tour of the Training Centre – pictured here in the library.
Guests being shown manikins to be be used in training.
Dr Neil outlined the need & vision for a specific Training Centre in HEAL Africa Hospital. He thanked the major sponsors who allowed the Centre to be realised.
Dr Jo Lusi (HAH founder) talked about his vision of HEAL Africa to be a place of training. This new Training Centre is the fulfillment of that vision.
The Mayor spoke about his hope that Goma would lead the way in improving healthcare throughout North Kivu Province and further afield in DR Congo. He then officially declared the HEAL Africa Training Centre open.

2019 begins !

AusHEAL Teams – March/April 2019

Medical Work


The longest surgery so far this visit, was a man with a blocked gullet (oesophagus) who had an oesophageal bypass surgery lasting 8 hours. 10 days later he was able to successfully take his first food. AusHEAL is able to bring this expertise through Dr Neil’s skills and experience.

Oesophageal bypass patient taking his first food 10 days after surgery.

The saddest surgery so far this visit, was a park ranger who was bitten on the leg by a hippo. Transport to HEAL Africa Hospital was a 5-hour journey. In spite of the intensive treatment he received at the hospital, he succumbed to his injuries and lengthy transport.

Training & work by AusHEAL Volunteers

Small groups of AusHEAL volunteer teams with different expertise visited the HEAL Africa Hospital (HAH) in March 2019.

Dr Peter Tralaggan (Anaesthetist from Sydney) conducting a training session on Anaesthesia with the COSECSA (College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa) Trainees.

This year, two new surgical trainees joined the COSECSA
(College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa) training program which is sponsored by AusHEAL. Three HAH doctors are in in their second year of training. Two doctors are in their 4th. All will sit the written exam from the Surgical College in September. Along with surgical training, they are also being educated in anaesthetics.

Dr Peter Tralaggan and his wife Julie hard at work. Peter preparing for Anaesthesia workshops and Julie cataloguing the new HEAL Africa Training Centre Library.
Chris Webb (mechanic) worked on the HAH vehicles and ambulances.
Chris Webb (also an electrician) and Paul Bakes (IT) cabling the HEAL Africa Training Centre for INTERNET use.
The hospital “Opening Committee” and Dr Neil plan the opening and dedication of the HEAL Africa Training Centre.
AusHEAL volunteers Brian Bakes and Paul McLean, work with Elie from Goma to fit out the Training Centre with the necessary cabinetry.

The AusHEAL container shipped from Brisbane in 2018 contained equipment and supplies for the Training Centre.

Young helpers assisting AusHEAL volunteers to unload the AusHEAL container.
Dr Neil packing shelves of medical supplies from the AusHEAL container in the new hospital storage room.

Farewell to Congo for 2018

AusHEAL bids farewell to HEAL Africa Hospital for 2018 as Dr Neil Wetzig (AusHEAL Congo Project Director) and Gwen Wetzig (AusHEAL Congo Project Administrator) leave Goma to return home to Australia before the end of the year.

AusHEAL teams will begin returning to DRC in February 2019, subject to safety and stability after the Congolese elections due to be held the end of this December.

Pictures below leave parting glimpses to the work in 2018.

SURGERY …..

Excessive pathology continues to be referred to HEAL Africa Hospital (HAH) for surgery – abdominal catastrophes, genital fistulae – often from Caesarian section misadventure in rural areas, congenital abnormalities, massive spleens, trauma, dealing with the poor results from traditional medicines, burns scars etc.

Complex surgery made more difficult… i.e. splenectomy when the patient has low clotting factors.  

With such cases Dr Neil, during his stay over the last 4 months, has been able to be a surgical resource, mentor, and instructor with HEAL Africa Hospital staff, trainees and staff specialists.

 

EDUCATION …..

A main thrust of Dr Neil’s involvement continues to be the COSECSA program of training young doctors to a qualification from the College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa.

Expanding knowledge, understanding and clinical experience for the 6 COSECSA Trainees pictured with Neil and Gwen and Dr Muller (far left), a valuable trainer in the program.

Dr Jacques is the one COSECSA trainee in 2018 who passed his preliminary exams, enabling him to sit for his final. News has just come through that he has passed.

Dr Jacques being grilled by Dr Neil in preparation for the final COSECSA exam. 

Dr Neil at the College Examinations in Rwanda

 

One thrust of the HAH COSECSA education program is to enable trainees to attend further international training and networking with the surgical college attending the COSECSA Annual Scientific Congress 5-7 December. AusHEAL sponsors the trainees transport and conference costs.

Exhibition & Convention Centre, Kigali Rwanda – venue for the COSECSA exams & Annual Scientific Congress 5-7 December

 

 

 

All 6 HAH trainees attended together with Dr Medard (HAH general surgeon) and Dr Jo (Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of HAH)  

The last COSECSA training session at HEAL Africa Hospital before Neil & Gwen left Goma – Christmas shortbread, wafers & chocolate eclairs disappeared as quickly as they were put out onto a plate a special treat !!  

Entering the 2019 COSECSA program, currently sponsored by AusHEAL, are 2 new trainees pictured with Dr Neil. Dr Bienvenue (centre) a previous team interpreter for AusHEAL)and Dr Mechak (right).

AusHEAL – HEAL Africa Training Centre Update …..

Work on the Training Centre continues towards completion. A further container is expected in the New Year sponsored by Sonic Australia. It will bring extra building supplies from Australia to complete the fit-out of the Centre. Education programs in the new Centre are eagerly awaited by the HAH staff, empowering the trained specialists at HAH to now teach and train others.

Large training room inside the HATS building.

The outside of the HATS building now painted matching other Hospital buildings.

ENGLISH LESSONS …..

English lessons with Gwen continued with Finance & Management staff and COSECSA trainees (with a special request for specialised English in Nursing next visit).

 

Excitement at the wedding of Dr Jacques and his bride Olga – a beautiful occasion. 

 

Sunset over Lake Kivu as Neil & Gwen bid farewell in 2018 to HEAL Africa. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 2018

HEALTH …..

DR NEIL

The HEAL Africa Hospital (HAH) surgical workload has been carried by Dr Neil Wetzig as his Congolese General Surgical colleague has been away on ‘surgical outreach’ repairing cleft lips and palates. There has been an abundance of very sick patients with many and varied conditions. Patients undergoing surgery who have healed well have been discharged. A few, however, have sadly succumbed including a 3-day old baby with an unusual congenital syndrome and dying bowel.

In the last 3 weeks there have been 5 cases of what we term ‘Abdominal Catastrophe’ referred from rural health centres – mostly young women who have a Caesarean Section but the bowel has been cut.  After unsuccessful surgical attempts to repair the complications, patients are eventually sent to HEAL Africa Hospital. Subsequent management of these patients is complex. Surgery takes several hours. They require intense post-operative care. Neil has been feeling exhausted. There have also been other large tumours requiring removal, as well as complex cases where surgery was not required – but all are good teaching exercises for our basic surgical trainees.

A.H.P.F.

The AusHEAL Hospital Patient Fund (A.H.P.F.) has enabled some poor patients to be given medical care at the Hospital.  So many people in eastern Congo are very poor and therefore medical care is just out of reach for such people.  The AHPF helps those genuinely in need and provides practical training for young doctors being trained by AusHEAL volunteers.  This young boy is one example of a patient who was treated by the AHPF. 

EDUCATION …..

SPECIALIST TRAINING

Welcome back Dr Kigayi – AusHEAL has sponsored Dr Kigayi’s specialist training in Anaesthesiology in Tanzania for the last 3 years. He has recently completed his training and able to be registered as one of the few specialist anaesthetic doctors in DRCongo, the majority of anaesthetics being given by nurse-anaesthetists. Dr Kigayi has returned to HEAL Africa Hospital bringing not only specialised skills to the anaesthetic service, but also leadership to the team.

Dr Kigati (left) with Shabani (head nurse-anaesthetist) at HEAL Africa Hospital

 

HAH COSECSA TRAINING SCHEME (College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa)

COSECSA training at HEAL Africa Hospital, sponsored  & pioneered by AusHEAL, continues with the 6 Hospital Trainees. Sadly, only one of the 3 senior Trainees who sat their written exams in early September, passed.  Our Trainers considered this exam to be quite difficult and requiring a high standard to pass. The results do not reflect the hard work or progress that has been made by the trainees since the course commenced.

COSECSA trainers Dr Muller (HAH) (left), & Dr Neil (AusHEAL) (2nd left) with current COSECSA trainees

The priority now, is to coach Dr Jacques (the senior trainee who passed) for his oral exam to be held on 3 December in Kigali.  Dr Neil will be an examiner for the College in the COSECSA examinations 

A Basic Surgical Skills Course held in Kigali, Rwanda recently was attended by the 3 HAH junior COSECSA Trainees – a requirement of the MCS (Membership of the College of Surgeons) course.  All 3 found the course to be practically helpful and enjoyed the learning experience.  Dr Neil participated as one of the Course Trainers. It was a great chance for Neil to be with our Trainees, as well as meeting up again with Scottish COSECSA trainers from the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, whom he has met previously, together with networking with colleagues from Rwanda.

Basic Surgical Science course in Kigali, Rwanda

Dr Neil with the 3 HEAL Africa new trainees at the COSECSA Basic Science course

ADVOCACY …..

The new Community Health Centre for Women & Children  at HEAL Africa Hospital is about to become a reality.  Plans have been drawn, funding has been approved by AMADE MONDIALE (the foundation of the late Princess Grace of Monaco and now overseen by her daughter, Princess Caroline) A Memorandum of Understanding is being negotiated, and this past week a meeting was held with a local Banking Development Manager to arrange management of funds for the construction of this new building.  As some of this arises from the visit to Monaco last April by Neil & Gwen Wetzig, these negotiations are providing other significant issues for Neil & Gwen to deal with.

LOGISTICS …..

AusHEAL-HEAL Africa TRAINING CENTRE

The AusHEAL-HEAL Africa Training Centre is progressing well with doors about to be fitted and windows to follow.  The external walls were painted last week to match the rest of the building. The Training Centre being the top floor of the multi-story Outpatients building. Once it is to lock-up stage we can think about ‘moving in’. We hope that happens before Neil & Gwen leave in early December.

AusHEAL-HEAL Africa TRAINING CENTRE now painted (the top story)

CONTAINER

The Container, jointly sent by Brisbane’s Mater Hospital and DHL, arrived recently. Whilst this was very good news, the container had to be returned to Dar es Salaam with the truck due to a misunderstanding in Australia. The original intention was for the container to remain at HEAL Africa Hospital. Therefore, a rush ensued to have the container unloaded as soon as possible. Last Saturday was the only time it could be done. The day was dull and it rained. About 5 or 6 ‘officials’ from Customs/the transport company ‘agent’/government office all had to be present when the container was unlocked and unloaded. They each had to make an individual list of what was unpacked from the container.  Interesting process….. a long and eventually hot day…… tiring!  Importantly, the contents had travelled well from Brisbane with valuable needed contents (not monetary value) received for the AusHEAL-HEAL Africa Training Centre and the Hospital.

Unloading the Container sent by Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

Goma, D.R.Congo …..

EBOLA

Total cases of Ebola in the Beni area of North Kivu Province are estimated at 287. (Confirmed cases 252 + Probable cases 35) with 181Deaths (146 Confirmed + Probable 35). This is now the largest outbreak in Congo’s history, but has thankfully not yet reached Goma.

D.R.C. ELECTIONS

Anti-Government Protests were peacefully held in Goma on Friday 26th October. In the capital Kinshasa the next day, thousands of pro-Government supporters gathered in a large stadium. Locally, lawlessness is increasing and political marches are becoming more frequent.  We (Neil & Gwen) remain vigilant. The Electoral Commission visited the hospital to educate staff and patients how to use the computerised voting ‘machine’. The vast majority of the population cannot read or write, complicating the Electoral Commission’s endeavours.

FISTULA BUILDING

The new Fistula Building is among the triad of new buildings in 2018 at HEAL Africa Hospital, in addition to the AusHEAL-HEAL Africa Training Centre and Amade Mondiale Community Health Centre for Women and Children. The Fistula Building, funded by the Fistula Foundation, opened mid-October. At the opening the excitement of women was contagious as they entered the new building, singing and dancing, in appreciation for this new facility.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Dr Denis Mukwege has devoted his life to defending victims of wartime sexual violence in DRCongo.

Dr Mukwege leads the PANZI Hospital in Bukavu, capital of SOUTH Kivu province in eastern DRCongo. Goma is the capital of NORTH Kivu province, separated from its southern counterpart by Lake Kivu. HEAL Africa Hospital is centrally involved in fistula repair throughout its own province in North Kivu. The above building is testimony.

Heal Africa Hospital’s founder, Dr Jo Lusi, was instrumental in Dr Mukwege’s specialising in gynaecology and, in fistula repair. Dr Jo recently paid visit to Dr Mukwege to offer congratulations and encouragement on his award.

This is Goma, where we live !!

Gwen & Neil Wetzig

Gwen & Neil Wetzig write:

“We are constantly reminded of the richness, vibrancy and colour of where we are living….” 

Leaving the hospital at 6pm one Friday night, we walked out the back entrance to find everything in the street had stopped still – for the first time in 12 years we had come across the flag-lowering tradition where everything and everyone stops – until the flag has been lowered – and then everything and everyone just start moving again.  (We had experienced this in the mornings at 7.30am when the flag was raised – and often wondered if the same occurred in the evenings!)

Things that women carry on their heads here…..

  • up to 20 cabbages in a bowl
  • a large sack of powdered milk the size of a cement bag (carried upright, not flat!!!)
  • a vacuum cleaner →
  • a single boot
  • up to 5 or 6 layers of fresh eggs in cardboard layers

Things that are carried on motos (motorbikes) here…..

  • 2 wooden chairs (right)                  
  • Large window frames
  • Long lengths of piping
  • Car tyres
  • Fresh meat – carcass of a cow
  • A female passenger hugging on to a live turkey under her arm

Things carried here on tshukudus (wooden push-bikes) pronounced ‘chookoodoo’

  • 2-3 large sacks of charcoal (right) – and when one topples off, other tshukudu ‘pushers’ stop to help
  • Multiple large sacks of potatoes and other produce to and from markets
  • Cupboards, beds and other furniture
  • Image by Albert Kambale – AFP News https://www.yahoo.com/news/dr-congos-tshukudu-purpose-transport-scooter-041820000.html

 

“Reminders of our surrounding reality ….”

  •  Farewelling our team at Goma airport, the airstrip was dotted with lots of aircraft…including those of the UN / Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) / World Food Program / Aide Humanitaire
  •  During a prayer in church the pastor said he was “grateful to be among those who are alive today”
  •  Where the leader of the country, scheduled to step aside in 2016, has agreed to elections in December this year, but blocked opposition candidates from participating or entering the country to register.
  •  Where our HEAL Africa Hospital Emergency Physician is communicating to students from the local deaf school about ‘the E-word’….EBOLA and its prevention, and, where for 2 consecutive days he has been ‘in the field’ educating the community about Ebola prevention
  • Where reports from the town of BENI (500km north of GOMA) revealed last weekend was so stressful in the city following the attack by rebels from a neighbouring country. The attack occurred in the middle of the town killing 19 persons including 15 civilian and 4 soldiers. Many others were wounded and treated.
  • Also, 6 persons travelling by bus from GOMA to BUTEMBO (60kms south of Beni) were reported to be kidnapped by another group of rebels.  There is enough difficulty taking care of both victims of the current Ebola outbreak and the wounded. It is really is a very complicated situation. (Something like 88 have died from this highly contagious disease outside BENI.)
  • The President of the nation was in New York this month addressing the United Nations General Assembly 
  • Where, during a COSECSA Training session on ‘spleens’, one of the Trainers mentioned that “if there is a war with the elections, there may be spleen injuries”

Storm passing over our accommodation on the shore of Lake Kivu

 

This is the end of September when there is less than 3 months till the scheduled December election

“This is life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. …..This is Goma where we live!” 

Congo NEWS

AUSHEAL in October 

Visiting AusHEAL Team – September 2018   

TEAMS….

  • the final week of AusHEAL’s visiting September teams was quite busy with team members finalising training programs, distributing certificates of training to their Congolese colleagues and saying their goodbyes. In chapel on the last Friday morning there was loud celebration in appreciation of the contribution made by the  teams – one of the Interpreters even wrote and sang a special song of thanks urging the team members to ‘please come back again’!!!
  • 16 AusHEAL Team members all in red shirts departed Goma airport on SATURDAY 15th September and
  • arrived safely (with their luggage) back in Brisbane Australia early on the following MONDAY morning
  • Team member, Paul  (after being here 10 weeks) departed DR Congo the following Monday, having left a great contribution to HEAL Africa in terms of IT, cabling & support, mentoring, chaplaincy training and building supervision & advice

    AusHEAL Team Farewell from HEAL Africa Hospital

    Team debrief, held at the end of each day at HEAL Africa

    Paul (centre) with Bizi (HEAL Africa) (left) and Dr Neil (right)

WORKSHOP….. 

Responses received from senior HEAL Africa Hospital staff following the Workshop (reported in our last newsletter) included:

  1. “Thank you so much for the well organized and helpful workshop. We hope this will improve healthcare at HEAL AFRICA. My mentor told me when I came back from Makerere University “Never stop learning”.  It has been very helpful to all of us. Please say thanks to AusHEAL team.  ASANTE SANA” (“thank you very much” in Swahili)
  2. “Thank you very much for asking me to participate in this year’s workshop. Thank you for the wonderful organization. It was very good, exciting. Thank you for helping HEAL Africa to improve the care of patients, the care of our Congolese brothers and sisters”

COSECSA…..

We still await the written exam results for the 3 senior COSECSA Trainees. (College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa) Planning is underway for all our Trainees and some Trainers to attend the annual COSECSA Scientific Congress held during the first week of December in Kigali, Rwanda.

One junior trainee commented to Gwen that he had “obtained his computer from AusHEAL”…… quickly followed by saying  “I bought this with the money I earned from interpreting for AusHEAL teams a few years ago”.   Proof of a ‘double blessing’ to medical students who interpret for our teams

One of the senior COSECSA trainees giving his presentation on “Splenic Preservation”

During a ward round,  Dr Neil asked one of the Senior COSECSA Trainees about an in-patient. He was able to identify the issue, think through the solution and come up with the right response.  He said, “before COSECSA training we did not know any of this – we would have to go and ask someone in the Internal Medicine Department – but now we know this for ourselves and understand how to work out the diagnosis and treatment.”  This is why we are here !!

Clinical Challenges…..

  • a baby with a large kidney tumour – she underwent successful surgery but arrested some hours later, presumed due to a reaction to the small blood transfusion given after her operation – 3 team members were involved in resuscitating her in ICU before Dr Neil even heard there was a problem. The surgical team were still in the Operating Theatre with another difficult case. Sadly, she died during the early hours of the following morning. So devastating for all involved!
  • a young man who had tried to take his own life by drinking acid, was permanently left with a hugely scarred and narrowed oesophagus (stricture) such that he could barely swallow.  The narrowing was corrected by removing the scarred oesophagus in his chest and replaced with bowel transferred from his abdomen in an 8-hour operation. Huge surgery. He is now able to eat again as a result and has now been discharged.

    Oesophageal by-pass patient with the surgical team (photo with permission)

    Successfully now able to eat

  • a further malnourished man who also drank acid after a fight with his wife. He required excision of a tight stricture of his oesophagus and bypass of his narrowed duodenum, the outlet of his stomach. Successful surgery. A week later his abdominal wound sprang open! He was just so malnourished that his healing ability was hugely impaired, in spite of good nutritional feeding by a tube before his operation to build him up
  • a young female pedestrian hit by a car admitted to HEAL Africa Hospital (HAH) with one leg almost amputated and the other severely injured. She underwent surgery to both legs with a nerve block rather than general anaesthetic. Blood transfusion had been refused as she was a Jehovah’s Witness, significantly compromising her ability to survive a general anaesthetic. The nerve block used had only recently been taught by Dr Luke, our visiting AusHEAL team anaesthetist. The young lady is surviving, in spite of her extremely low blood count
  • many other operations continue to be done, including women who have had bad outcomes from previous Caesarean sections elsewhere in the Province

HATS Training Centre…..

  • The visiting AusHEAL Teams were taken on a tour through the top floor of the Outpatients Building to inspect the progress of the construction of the HEAL Africa Training Centre (H.A.T.S.).  It is hoped that construction will be completed and the centre mostly fitted out prior to Neil and Gwen’s return to Australia late 2018
  • Last Friday the ‘Building Committee’ also toured the construction. Dr Neil was able to further enhance their understanding of capacity-building into Health through the use of a dedicated Training Centre
  • Recently, AusHEAL team members Neil, Paul and Tim went shopping with ‘Bizi’ (HAH Technical Department Chief) to look for electrical goods for the skills laboratory. Neil went back with Bizi a week later and the goods were purchased and transported to HAH.   A surreal experience
  • A container provided by the Mater Hospital Brisbane and DHL, recently shipped from Brisbane with many items for the new Training Centre and associated Skills Workshop, was scheduled to arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this past weekend. It will be trucked directly to Goma, and hopefully, arrive at the hospital in about a week’s time

    Team inspection of the H.A.T.S. Centre

    Large Training Room

    Window frame construction

    Painting progress

    H.A.T.S. Building Committee in the facility

AusHEAL Congo Project – 2019-2021 strategic planning …..

  • Members of the AusHEAL Congo Project Steering Committee, who were in Goma, met with members of HEAL Africa senior staff for joint discussions regarding the next 3-year project of AusHEAL partnering with HEAL Africa in association with the Global Development Group. The meeting gave opportunity for HEAL Africa to suggest ways in which they would like AusHEAL to support their work, be it personnel and training, financial or logistical.
  • One of the main concerns for HEAL Africa was that up till now AusHEAL has invested significant effort, time and logistical resources into clinical training.  The senior hospital executive expressed their desire for AusHEAL to work with them on preventative health measures and Primary Health Care.

    AusHEAL Congo Project STEERING COMMITTEE meeting with the senior HEAL Africa Executive

HEAL AFRICA HOSPITAL (HAH) in October     

Construction progress…..

Pictured is continuing work on the Women’s and Children’s Inpatient Pavilion – where it joins one of the existing buildings.  Also the Fistula Care Building is almost completed and is due to be officially opened on 12th October. These two hospital buildings are separate and distinct from the AusHEAL sponsored training centre above.

 

Ebola ‘Sensitization’

HEAL Africa has undertaken a community role of helping to educate community groups on Ebola prevention.  Students from the Ephphatha Deaf school visited HAH for a training session given by Dr Muller (HAH Emergency Physician).  The special thing about this group is that one of the school’s partners is an Australian-based organisation, WorldShare, based in Sydney – who also partner with HEAL Africa and who, along with AusHEAL and Sonic Healthcare, comprise the HEAL Africa-Australian Alliance meeting annually to co-ordinate and co-operate in supporting HEAL Africa.

Solar Buddy distribution…..

36 ‘Solar Buddy’ lights constructed by Year 6 students from Rochedale State School (Queensland, Australia) on Brisbane’s southside, were distributed by AusHEAL to Senior form students who are part of the HEAL Africa Child Sponsorship Program (administered by HEAL Africa Australian partner, WorldShare).  Rochedale State School is an internationally-minded school, keen to look beyond their area & help others in need around the world. Students from Goma DR Congo were grateful to receive their solar lights to enable them to study after dark, when there is no electricity for household lighting.

UN Hospital CME Day….. 

Senior HEAL Africa Hospital staff were invited to attend the UN Hospital CME Day (Clinical Medical Education) at the new UN Hospital compound in Goma. Attendance was by specific personal invitation only.  Security was quite tight. Visitors had to ‘sign in’ a few times and, once seated had to sign another sheet of paper.  Gwen was listed as ‘Dr Gwen Wetzig’.  “First and probably last time that will ever happen” – she thought!

Three HAH doctors (Dr Muller, Emergency Physician; Dr Simplice, Orthopaedic Surgeon; and Dr Justin Jnr, one of our junior COSECSA trainees who spoke on behalf of Dr Medard, General Surgeon) ably gave presentations on clinical work at HAH.

UN hospitality was warm and friendly. There was good opportunity for ‘making connections’ between the UN Hospital, HEAL Africa Hospital and the Provincial Hospital.  It was unanimously agreed that all 3 hospitals could work more closely together. Such an encouragement.  Continuing medical deployment at the UN Hospital is from India. Those in the current deployment are keen to support HEAL Africa Hospital through clinical training.

Lunch at the UN Hospital

Training, Training, Training

Pictorial of visit by AusHEAL teams in 2018 

Welcome to AusHEAL Nurses in morning chapel

Welcome to members of the AusHEAL Medical team by the Medical Director of HEAL Africa Hospital

MIDWIVES:

Monitoring a woman in labour

In discussions with Maternity staff

With Maternity nurse (left) and Chief of Health Centre (right)

THEATRE NURSES:

Training staff in sterilisation procedures

Up-skilling Theatre Nurses on theatre instruments

Theatre Nurses & Medical Equipment Technician lecturing on care of equipment

 

MEDICAL:

Anaesthetist & Emergency Physician training staff on haemorrhage and blood loss

Medical Team Inspecting the Radiology Department

Cardiologist & Cardiac Sonographer with HAH Chief of Internal Medicine

AusHEAL sonographer training HEAL Africa radiographer

 

AusHEAL Practitioner training Family Medicine Program trainees

Building / Logistics / IT:

Working on cabling the new hospital building

 

 

AusHEAL TEAMS arrive

First impressions and comments:

2018 AusHEAL Medical and Nursing Teams

The AusHEAL Nursing Team arrived on Saturday 25 August followed by the Medical Team on Saturday 1 September.  In welcoming both teams, some of their first impressions included the following:

  • GOMA:  Traffic / People jumping in front of moving cars / Lots of people / nothing could have prepared me for it / sad seeing a lady sitting on the pavement with two children asleep on her lap / people walking everywhere
  • HEAL Africa:  overwhelming / a tear came to my eye seeing a little boy in Intensive Care / people grateful to see me return / staff using what they have….as they say “This is all we’ve got.” / gratitude for all that AusHEAL teams have done previously

Sickness has struck many of the team members – colds, headaches, fevers, tooth pain and diarrhoea….with a few needing to take days off.

Sadness continues to overcome the team – from watching children suffering pain and their cries, to witnessing 4 women after delivery sharing the one bed due to lack of space, and to having to resuscitate a 1-year old infant in intensive care during the afternoon, continuing into the night after successful morning surgery.

Smiling is irresistible seeing HEAL Africa staff after a teaching session catching a ‘volunteer’ out while trying to reiterate the main points of the teaching / watching the hospital staff using ‘what they already have’ to put into place an important treatment principle / entering a room to see HEAL Africa staff trained by AusHEAL in turn teaching & training fellow colleagues.

LECTURES: Team members have excelled in their preparation for lecture presentations.

AusHEAL Orthopaedic Nurses (left & right) going over their presentations with their Interpreter (centre)

Our Paediatric Intensive Care Nurse (centre) preparing with her Interpreter & the AusHEAL
Nursing Team Leader (left)

INTERPRETERS: As most of the nursing staff and patients do not speak English, AusHEAL arranges for English-speaking Medical Students to interpret for team members.  This has a two-fold effect – firstly our team members are able to communicate their teaching and training (both lecture-style and one-on-one); and secondly the medical students learn much theory of medicine and practical applications.  (In fact, one of our current COSECSA Junior Trainees commented on how valuable was his experience of interpreting for AusHEAL teams in previous years, that he believes he is a better doctor now.)

Team with interpreters

 

WORKSHOP: The annual AusHEAL Workshop for all clinical and administrative staff was held on Saturday 8 September.  This was attended by about 135 HEAL Africa staff.  The focus was Making Connections’ and the aim was to try to identify the ‘missing links’ in a chain of care by various staff and departments from admission of patients through to discharge, to ensure smooth processes and successful outcomes for the patients.

After lunch, workshop attendees worked together in their hospital departmental groups to discuss and develop individual plans to improve in 3 specific areas over the following 12 months.

One departmental group discussion following the morning Workshop

August 2018 – the beginning of things

PAUL BAKES has currently been at HEAL Africa Hospital (HAH) for about 3 weeks cabling the new hospital buildings for internet connectivity. He will remain in DRCongo for some months. Paul’s brother BRIAN arrived recently with Dr NEIL & GWEN WETZIG. Brian will be assisting Paul and also doing cabinetry work.

Paul Bakes

Dr Neil & Gwen arrived to renew acquaintances and begin a further 4 months at the hospital. Four days after their arriving…..some bad news regarding Neil’s Congolese surgical colleague at HAH, Dr Medard.  Coming home late after a wedding, his car broke down. He was subsequently attacked and robbed, and admitted unconscious to HAH. Neil was called into the hospital about 2.30am. Thankfully, by dawn Dr Medard had begun to gain some consciousness, but remained in hospital a couple of days. He had a week off work.  We are grateful to those who have prayed for him. He is now back at work and slowly recovering. It meant a heavier work load for Neil in his absence.

Neil, Gwen & Brian

Neil has continued teaching and training the 3 senior COSECSA Surgical Trainees as they are prepare to sit their written exams on the 5th of September. AusHEAL continues to fund hospital costs of very poor patients if they are being treated by AusHEAL team members, and, if their clinical problem and treatment can be used for teaching and training purposes. One 2-year old child treated by Neil in March this year under this program is improving.

Dr Neil teaching Surgical Trainees

The AusHEAL Nursing Team will arrive in Goma on Saturday 26 August, training HAH nurses for 3 weeks.

HEAL Africa HOSPITAL NEWS

  • EBOLA has broken out in a town called Beni (about 500Km north of Goma) HAH’s Emergency Physician, Dr Muller, has been nominated as the HEAL Africa Representative for the Ebola response. Each afternoon he has been attending a debrief meeting at the Provincial Health Authority and reported back to HA senior staff each morning.
    • We understand that the outbreak has been contained in the Beni area, however WHO personnel have arrived in North Kivu Province and precautionary measures are being taken across Goma. At HEAL Africa, staff are no longer allowed to shake hands or hug in greeting each other; and handwashing & temperature-taking is mandatory on entering the hospital grounds.
    • The DRCongo Government and WHO have a record of being able to confine and manage the several outbreaks of Ebola that have occurred throughout the country.
    • Neil has communicated with those involved in the response.  He has kept the AusHEAL Board in Australia informed, assessing and minimising risk for the AusHEAL nursing and medical teams travelling to DRCongo at the end of the month.
  • Graduations: 4 Family Medicine Program DOCTORS graduated and were prayed for in Chapel on Friday morning. 7 Orthopaedic NURSING Officers have graduated and will now return to rural areas to offer basic orthopaedic care, including club foot treatment. These two training programs are part of the HEAL Africa Training Service (HATS) which Neil represented at the graduation.
  • HAH welcomes back Dr Cathy as a trained Ob/Gyn specialist. It is great to see Dr Cathy again as she was a resident at HAH many years ago. She will make a significant and welcome contribution to the hospitals Obstetric and Gynaecological service.

Neil with the Family Medicine Program Graduates

AusHEAL PROJECTS:

  • AusHEAL-HEAL Africa Training Centre:
    • Construction has progressed on the centre building. The roof is now on. Paul Bakes has been able to recommend changes to enable maximum use of the planned training rooms

      AusHEAL-HEAL Africa Training Centre progress – the top floor of the adjacent building

  • CONTAINER
    • Equipment sourced from Brisbane is now on its way to Goma in a container arranged through DHL by the Mater Hospitals in Brisbane. The Training Centre above will be fitted out with some of the contents from this container. AusHEAL is grateful for the ongoing generosity and contribution from both the Mater Hospital and DHL. Some pics below from the container packing in Brisbane early August.


 

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