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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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HEAL Africa Hospital Functioning Amidst War - 2009

Dr. Christophe Kimona, General Surgeon and Chief of Staff describes a typical day at the HEAL Africa hospital in the middle of a war zone.

I wear two hats every week. Mondays and Wednesdays I do general surgery, while Tuesdays and Thursdays I do fistula repair surgeries. Fridays are reserved for appointments and on Saturdays I do rounds and visit all the patients who have had surgery, as well as hold the hospital Executive Committee meeting in the early afternoon.

The pace of life here seems to escalate, especially in the recent months. Every day I receive patients, visitors and anyone else who wants to see me.   They wait patiently in line outside my office.  Early every morning I make a “speed round,” visiting all patients who will have surgery the following day, or any new cases that arrived during the night.

Today is Monday, February 16th at 15:35 pm. I’m sitting in front of my computer trying to gather my thoughts. I have innumerable emails I have not yet had time to read and the internet connection is so slow that I fear I will have to wait for yet another moment in another day that might allow me the opportunity to respond to them.

I think back on this past weekend, which passed by in a blur. Saturday we operated on an armed thief who got shot in the stomach. I hear that while he was trying to rob people; the “victims” turned out to be armed bandits themselves who turned on him and during the exchange of bullets shot the thief.  It was a messy, complicated surgery. He also had a nail driven into his wrist, which we removed. We received him sometime in the dead of the night. Dr. Medard (a surgical resident) operated on him with me; it was a 4 hour surgery that ran well past 6 AM.

Dr. Medard told me that by 3:30 PM today, he had already seen 30 patients! We also discussed the status of Saturday’s gunshot patient. We are happy that the surgery went well and that he should be able to leave after 10 days. It took us 3 days to find his family members, and now his wife is taking care of him. Frankly, we doubt he will be able to pay for any of his medical treatment. He is a young man, too, 27 years old.

We have about 23 soldiers from both the government and CNDP’s armies at the hospital right now, mostly gunshot victims from the conflict in the surrounding areas. We even received a colonel this last week. We can only continue to hope and pray for peace to come to our region soon.
200 patients at the hospital and more; I must return to work.