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Stories

The AusHEAL surgical team met a young 23 year old woman

Life is difficult in the Congo and she had tried to take her own life by swallowing battery acid.  That resulted in a scarred swallowing tube and she was unable to eat by mouth.  She had been fed by a tube in her stomach for two years.  The AusHEAL surgical team was able to perform surgery that bypassed her blocked oesophagus (swallowing tube) and within ten days she was able to eat her first meal in two years.

Her story continues as she was able to go back to studies, complete her secondary schooling and an accountancy degree sponsored by AusHEAL.  She now works at the hospital as a trusted cashier and the money she earns from her employment is able to support not only her family in her village but her younger sister has been able to come to Goma and commence university studies.

One life changed through improved medical care has resulted in widespread effects.

Burns are common in the Congo particularly amongst children

Open cooking on fires is commonplace in village settings. Children running around will often fall into fires and sustain horrific burns and subsequent contractures. The AusHEAL surgical teams have been able to restore some of these children to a better function of life. The ongoing effects of this allow them to be productive citizens in their community.

A young 22 year old woman gave birth by caesarean section in a rural village

The baby was delivered by a Congolese doctor with little or no surgical training and the outcome for this young woman was poor. Her bowel had been cut in multiple places. Several operations were conducted in her village before she was sent to HEAL Africa. The AusHEAL surgical teams were able to teach the local doctors basic surgical principles that allowed this woman’s bowel to be restored. She was only 17 when she gave birth. Now she can live a normal life and care for her baby. The local surgeons will now have an increased ability to perform such surgery.