AusHeal Blog

September 2016 Update


AusHEAL Team Member, Paul Bakes (IT Systems Engineer) has been at Heal Africa Hospital (HAH) for the past two weeks, at the specific request of the CEO of the hospital. Paul’s task was to look at the problems HAH is having with QuickBooks, their accounting package.  The online version is unsuitable due to slow internet connection.   A solution to the slow internet connection is being sought urgently, as the HAH Board desires accounting to be online.  Other tasks Paul achieved were:

  • Installation of new internet server (proxy server)
  • Installation of backup procedure for the Patient Admin Software server
  • Installation of new backup server for the whole Heal Africa organisation
  • Measured and drew plans for additional levels of Radiology


A container sent from Brisbane’s Mater Hospital via DHL had arrived before the Australian team.  Dr Neil Wetzig and Paul supervised an audit of the container’s contents. Some of the supplies and equipment were delivered to the appropriate departments under Neil’s guidance; the remainder being withheld, to be delivered gradually as needed to avoid overwhelming the recipients.


Unloading the container from the Brisbane Mater Hospital and DHL


Container supplies being delivered to the operating-theatre-complex


Unloading the heavy operating theatre table


  • Dr Neil has borne the whole surgery load at the hospital since Dr Luc left for the USA a few days after we arrived.
  • He continues to see complex surgical conditions, some that he has never seen before.
  • The other HAH surgeon, Dr Medard, has been on rural ‘outreach’ since we arrived and due to security issues where he was, no flight was available for him to return to Goma this past week.
  • He has now returned from the north west of Congo and has reported that there was a 500-bed hospital in Kananga, serving millions, but the hospital was filthy inside and there was no surgeon. The young doctors working there do their best with little to no training…… This is why the COSECSA surgical training program at HAH is so important – one of the current Trainees comes from that area!


Surgical Training:

The 5 COSECSA (College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa) Trainees are very keen to learn.  As well as researching and presenting on various topics (2 sessions per week) they are also taking English lessons (this 2 year course is in English).  Their presentations are improving and show not only good research skills but also an enormous amount of work being committed to this.  Trainees will attend courses in Kigali (Rwanda) this month.


Dr Neil instructing the 5 COSECSA trainees

Scholarships for Specialisation:

  1. AusHEAL sponsorship for Dr Muller has provided for 3 years specialisation in Emergency Medicine. He has now completed his training and exams obtaining his Emergency Medicine specialist qualification. Dr Muller is expected back this week and will contribute enormous value to not only the Emergency Department, but to the whole Hospital.
  1. Dr Kigayi, also on an AusHEAL scholarship has completed his first year of Anaesthetic specialist training in Tanzania.
  2. Dr Barthelemy has been accepted into Nairobi University (Kenya) to begin specialist training in Obstetrics & Gynaecology (‘ObGyn’ here). This is a 4 year course and is being sponsored by AusHEAL.  There is a great demand for ObGyn services here in Eastern Congo, especially due to the need for fistula and prolapse surgery for women.
Dr Muller, AusHEAL Scholarship Holder in Emergency Medicine specialist training

Dr Muller – Emergency Medicine

Dr Kigayi - Anaesthetics

Dr Kigayi – Anaesthetics

Dr Barthelemy

Dr Barthelemy – Obstetrics

HEAL Africa Hospital News:

This week HAH received a delegation from UNICEF – a group comprising the Brazilian Ambassador to DRC who was accompanying Princess Caroline of Monaco (a UNICEF Ambassador).

We had the opportunity to talk with the Brazilian Ambassador for about 20 minutes.  He showed great interest in our work and training here, what AusHEAL teams had been doing over the years, and particularly in the current surgical training program.  He insisted on our meeting the Princess, so Dr Neil perfected in 30 seconds a summary of why we are living here and what we are doing here.  We are hopeful that there might be some UNICEF support forthcoming for Heal Africa Hospital’s work with children and women

Princess Caroline of Monaco with Neil & Gwen Wetzig

Princess Caroline of Monaco with Neil & Gwen Wetzig


Dr Neil with the Brazilian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo