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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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Training is key to any preparation for Congo’s future

Educating medical professionals and raising professional standards stabilizes and improves medical care for the residents of East Democratic Republic of Congo. Proper training of and supervision for staff and facilities reinforces the capacity of locally trained doctors and nurses and equips them for the various challenges that they face working in both rural and urban settings. Rural health centers have acute needs for improving their quality of service. HEAL Africa works with 67 clinics in 10 health zones in North Kivu, training nurses, delivering essential medicines, and conducting training supervisions with hospitals and their corresponding health centers. In 2008 HEAL Africa used its quality care module to train four hospitals in Maniema province, and hosted training courses for medical personnel at both the HEAL Africa headquarters and the University of Goma's ISTM.

Training and continuing education for medical practionersTraining is key to any preparation for Congo’s future. HEAL Africa’s hospital and programs offer professional medical training and further specialization for young doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff. It is providing internships in administration, accounting and program evaluation, and linking university students in Goma with practical skills and experience under good supervision. 

Students in Congo don’t have part-time jobs through high school and college, as many Americans do. That early work provides a wide base of experience by the time they graduate from university. In Congo young medical doctors graduate without having seen or touched a patient. Providing supervision and practice are essential to skills building, especially when lives are on the line. Working with experienced specialist medical doctors, visiting programs in rural areas like Safe Motherhood, HIV –Choose Life—provides a breadth of experience not available in any other program in Congo.

Orthopedic Officer Training

Orthopedic surgery is one of HEAL Africa’s patient care specialties, which enables our organization to provide important training to both internal and external medical personnel. In October 2007, HEAL Africa initiated a three-year program for Orthopedic Officers (A/level) that offers general and specialized training courses at the University of Goma.s ISTM and the HEAL Africa headquarters (Jubilee center). HEAL Africa sponsors twelve students, and has offered this support for the duration of their studies, pending students. satisfactory progress. Students spent their first year of candidature building medical skill and reinforcing their study with practice work at the HEAL Africa headquarters hospital.

Nursing Staff Training and Medical Monitoring

HEAL Africa works consistently to raise the professional standards of its facilities by training, supervising and monitoring staff services. Alongside perennial efforts to provide the best nursing care possible, this year improving records and filing systems was a top priority. Above all, HEAL Africa aimed to establish regular nursing standards to ensure that patients receive proper medications and heal in a hygienic environment. This year the sterilization department was relocated and refurbished.

HEAL Africa’s staff have varied backgrounds and places of training. During an evaluation staff discovered an acute need for standardizing record-taking, especially for regular notations of vital signs and prescription information. Realizing we could help improve conditions most immediately by providing the appropriate training for nursing staff, HEAL Africa organized training sessions. In 2008 HEAL Africa held 25 of these training sessions and a total of 40 HEAL Africa nursing staff members participated. However, these training sessions were open to all who wished to participate, so interns and students occasionally benefited from this training, too. To help maintain standards, a number of monitoring forms which support workflow and staff accountability have been integrated.

Outreach trips

HEAL Africa surgical teams travel to isolated hospitals and perform surgeries not normally available there. They travel with their equipment and power generator in order to repair clubfeet or other orthopedic conditions, or perform general surgery. While there, the team also teaches. It provides a great opportunity for medical professionals to learn new skills and exchange experience with peers in a country without a postal service or periodicals, or even an electric grid that connects to the internet. It connects men and women to each other and provides teaching opportunities that are otherwise impossible. It also provides health care from specialists to children, men and women who would otherwise not have it. Over 600 such surgeries were performed in 2008.