A total of five central population centers were served medically within the greater Minembwe region. Exams were free of charge, and in almost all cases medicines were also provided free to the patients.
The trip began with free clinics at the Hospital of
Minembwe. Dr. Tim and Dr. Bertin (with hat in hand),
and the hospital staff formed a great team
Two days of full Medical Clinics were held at the Minembwe General Hospital. 110+ people examined and treated.
An estimated 40+ people were examined and treated by Dr. Tim at their own homes or at the UEMI volunteer house.
Two days of lectures given to hospital staff. 15+ staff attended
|Gastronintestinal||Infectious Disease Control|
Dr. Tim also saw patients at the volunteer house,
including all of the orphans and their caregivers
Two "open invitation" trainings were conducted at the UEMI conference center
- Women's Medical Seminar, 25+ attended;
- Teachers Medical/First Responder Training, 30+ attended
A lot of positive feedback was received regarding both trainings, as well as encouragement to continue with similar trainings in the future.
Kishigo : 26 orphans and 3 caregivers were given exams and treated ;
Kalingi : Two days of full Medical Clinics, 130+ people examined and treated ;
Kisombe : Two days of full Medical Clinics, 120+ people examined and treated ;
Illundu : Two days of full Medical Clinics, 190+ people examined and treated
Evaluation of remote Medical Clinics
Urgent medical cases encountered:
Two critical cases, an infant with possible sepsis, and a young girl with extremely high blood sugar were sent immediately to the hospital for treatment. Also, several other patients were referred to the hospital for other chronic issues such as high blood pressure or pregnancy related issues.
General impression of regional health:
By far, gastronomical health issues dominated as the most common health complaint. There is no doubt that the local diet of mass amounts of carbohydrates, beans, cornflour ugali, and cabbage are the culprits. Also, unclean water sources bring parasite and other bacterial infections into the body compromising general health.
Two-thirds of the patients received Mebendazole treatment for worms and parisites.
Evaluation of clinics held in villages (Kalingi, Kisombe and Illundu)
The basic building facility of each host clinic was sufficient. However, they have very few medical or laboratory supplies, or standard equipment and instruments for basic examinations. There is also a lack of supplies for infectious disease control. We found no substantial pharmaceutical or basic wound care supplies at the clinics. No sources of electricity (i.e. solar panels, generators) available for lighting rooms or powering equipment.
Evaluation of Hospital
The hospital is still in it's first year of full operation. It is a nice new facility with a lot of space and potential.
Basic furniture and hospital beds are in place, but no basic bedding is available. Therefore, patients must bring their own unsanitary bedding into the facility increasing the risk of infections and spread of disease. The laboratory is in desperate need of the most basic equipment.
There are some sterilization and other essential electrically powered medical equipment available that can't be consistently used because of a constant shortage of fuel for the generators and poorly installed solar equipment that can not be reliably used.
An electric water pump and water sterilization system is in place but the solar system is not functioning and therefore, unpurified water is continually carried up by hand from a spring a good distance from the hospital.
There is an obvious shortage of basic medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are greatly limited. For instance, basic insulin is not available anywhere within the broad Minembwe region, yet we encountered several cases of diabetes and severely high blood sugar levels are prevalent in the region due to the diet high in carbohydrates.
Requests from Medical Staff
Dr. Bertin and staff are asking for specialist to come lecture and give training especially in the following areas of the medical field: Infection Treatment and Control, Diabetes, Pediatrics, Surgical Procedure, Tropical Disease Management & Immunization, Neo-Natal, Premature Infant Care, Resuscitation, and Blood Bank Management. However, in order to benefit from many of these specialists, the appropriate equipment would first need to be secured and in place at the Hospital, and dependable electrical power available.
We have also asked the staff for a prioritized list of needed medical and laboratory instruments, bedding, equipment, and supplies for the hospital and clinics. Some initial items mentioned were: pre-natal incubator, resuscitation equipment, and blood bank equipment.
Diet, Nutritional Health and Water
Although, the produce is fresh and organic...it is obvious to locals and visitors alike that the basic diet in the Minembwe region is not balanced or adequate for good health. The economy as well as lack of availability are both to blame for the dietary conditions.
A lack of Health and Nutritional Education is another key to poor overall health in the region.
Through the UEMI Agricultural department, we have already began experimental gardens to introduce new vegetables and fruits into the region, with the goal of beginning a seed sharing and planting program.
Through the Health Sciences and Community Development faculties at UEMI, we would like to establish a community educational program to send out health trainers into villages to focus on educating the women. Training subject would include how to achieve a healthy diet within their abilities (i.e. introducing new vegetables and fruits into their gardens, correct food eating combinations for best nutrition, the best way to prepare food for optimal nutrition, the best food handling and storage practices to minimize bacteria growth, etc.
We were left very impressed with the professional abilities of Dr. Bertin and staff to care for such a large population with such limited resources such as their greatly limited electrical power for lighting and powering equipment.
The financial resources are sharply limited for the medical care of the people in this region. Therefore, there is a need to find ongoing medical training, donations for supplies and equipment along with general funding through outside organizations.
In regards to preventative health and nutritional education, we believe this can best be achieved within the community by strategic training. UEMI, Medecin Zone de Minembwe, and other local organizations partnering together could accomplish this within a generation.
We greatly appreciate Dr Richard and Dr. Bertin initiating an agreement between the Hospital and UEMI to collectively care for the general medical health of the orphanage children under AVOC that reside in our community.
|Dr. Richard Shalangwa Bihoga||
Guest Physcian and Lecturer:
Dr. Timothy Edelblute
Local Physcian and lecturer:
Dr. Bertin Mushagalusa
|Medecin chef de Zone de Minembwe, DRC||
Specializing in Emergency Medical CareSalem, Oregon USA
Lead doctor at Minembwe General Hospital Kiziba, South Kivu, DRC