AusHeal Blog

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.


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.



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 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.