This is what Happens When 1 Clinic with 8 Staff Care for 5000 People
Written By: Kari-Lyn Danyluk, JGI Canada Volunteer
Category: From The Field
Despite the volatility and relentless unrest of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Jane Goodall Institute persists in working on the frontlines with local community members in rural areas.
Our biggest project is Delivering Healthy Futures, aimed at reducing the disturbingly high maternal and infant mortality rates among 20 villages located in the “green heart” of the DRC. Not only are the people here living in impoverished conditions, the extensive forests are critical habitat for chimpanzees and the highly endangered eastern lowland gorilla.
We recently spoke with Mr. Déogratias Muhima, head nurse at the health centre in the village of Kirundu where eight staff members provide health services for more than 5,000 people, seeing an average of 40 patients a day.
“We had a patient who was three months pregnant who presented with a serious case of malaria,” recounts Mr. Muhima. “She was anemic and hemorrhaging. She needed antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, a blood transfusion, quinine and papaverine, all of which we lacked. We followed our emergency procedures to transfer her to the main hospital in Walikale. Treatment for pregnant women at Walikale is free, however, her family could not afford the cost of her transportation. She died while her family was desperately trying to raise the money.”
Mr. Muhima stands next to an old and outdated birthing chair
Mr. Muhima’s wish-list for the health centre includes a new delivery room, an infant scale, antibiotics, potable water, and a medical waste disposal system.