Satellite fistula clinics change women’s lives

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Travel into the north of the DRC is risky business. Sadly, terrorist activity has made any trip hazardous (at best) for locals and visitors alike in any area north of Bunia.

This means that women in need of fistula surgeries who may have normally made the trip south to Rwankole Hospital in Bunia choose not to come, despite the knowledge that the fistula surgeries they need would change their lives. So many women are shunned by their husbands, families, and their communities due to their fistula problem (leaking urine, feces or both) mainly caused through difficult childbirths. 

So, through the encouragement of SIM Canada and after discussions with Dr. Claude (the fistula surgeon at Rwankole Hospital) a plan was hatched. If the women could not get to Bunia, then the treatment needed to come to them - to fly (thanks to MAF) to Mahagi on the border of the DRC and Uganda, and perform surgeries at the local Hospital.

A media campaign promoted the opportunity to the northern communities, encouraging women in need of fistula surgery to register. Meanwhile Dr. Claude, a nurse and an anesthesiologist prayed and prepared for the visit.

The outreach clinics at Mahagi Hospital took place successfully in November. On arrival, the team were welcomed by the medical staff at Mahagi Hospital.

In all 44 patients responded to the media campaign and following a consult, 36 were eligible for surgery. Of these, 30 fistula surgeries were performed, and 6 other patients were asked to return for their surgeries next year. As result, 25 patients were cured, 1 other had significant improvement and 4 failed, requiring further surgeries next year, due to the complexity of their fistulas.

All the patients received a care package comprising food and a hygiene kit as well as some needed bedside trauma counseling.

After their stay in Hospital each patient received assistance with their transportation needs back to their communities.

These surgeries change women’s lives. To see the immediate change in the outlook of these women who would not have been able to travel to Bunia for treatment was a huge blessing to the caregivers. To provide God-cented care was an honour...and praise God that the Lord kept all those involved safe in the process.

 

Please pray for

  • Dr. Claude who contracted COVID and is slowly recuperating
  • more qualified surgeons, nurses and anesthetists for Rwankole Hospital
  • for peace to return to the Northern regions of the DRC.
sim.ca/projects/RwankoleHospitalFistulaProject

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