The HEAL Africa teaching hospital in Goma is recognized by the Medical Inspection of North Kivu as the tertiary referral hospital for the province—one of only three tertiary referral hospitals in the DR Congo. The 160-bed hospital provides general surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology (including fistula repair), pediatrics, and internal medicine services. It is the hospital of choice for good care in the region and acts as a referral center for the most difficult cases. Children and adults receive surgery for conditions such as clubfoot, cleft palate, spina bifida, polio, rickets, and injuries from trauma related to the ongoing conflict in the region. In addition, the hospital’s gynecological surgeons have performed more than 1,600 fistula repair surgeries. The average cost of an operation is $400. While the majority of patients are from surrounding rural areas and do not have the ability to pay for minor health care, let alone major surgery, no patient in need of surgery is turned down because of inability to pay.
In order to support people who live in distant villages and are unable to make the trip to the hospital, HEAL Africa’s Orthopedic Outreach program sends its doctors and nurses to provide care that their local health providers are not equipped to deliver. People are healed who never would have had the chance to travel to Goma. During the several weeks that the medical staff spends in each village, they also provide training for the local health professionals. 863 outreach operations were performed in 2010.12
The hospital operates with a Congolese staff of 115 – 26 doctors (including 7 specialists) and 54 nurses plus an administrative team and has earned the support of several international organizations including USAID, IRC, UNICEF, and Engenderhealth, who have all invested in HEAL Africa staff, equipment, and infrastructure.