AusHeal Blog

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.


  • 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-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

    • 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.