When MedShare’s 40-foot container of medical equipment and supplies arrived at The General Referral Hospital of Panzi (GRHP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the health care staff knew the items would have a major impact on their community’s quality of health care.
Panzi Hospital is located in Bukavu in the eastern part of the DRC. A general hospital for the local population, it was founded in 1998 by human rights activist Dr. Denis Mukwege, its current medical director. Dr. Mukwege is recognized as an interntional expert in the treatment of survivors of sexual violence and women with gynecological problems resulting from reproductive trauma.
Above: Panzi Hospital founder and medical director, Dr. Denis Mukwege (left) and a
staff member with a patient at the hospital.
The container, one of two sponsored by the Carlo and Micol Schejol Foundation, was shipped from Oakland, CA, USA, in the summer of 2013 to the port at Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. It traveled overland through Rwanda to the hospital in Bukavu, arriving there in late November 2013.It was filled with supplies and equipment doctors at the hospital said they could use immediately. In addition to a portable X-ray unit, pulse oximeter, and an ECG machine, some of the supplies included: aprons, aspiration canisters, bandage rolls, hypothermia blankets, blood administration sets, blood collection sets, breathing circuits, cannulas, baby caps, catheters examination gloves, sutures, and syringes.
One example of how MedShare’s supplies were used involved a patient with a severely damaged hand who came to the Panzi Hospital emergency room. Doctors knew they had never had appropriate equipment to perform the surgery that this patient needed. Using surgical instruments from MedShare, a surgeon specializing in reconstructive procedures performed the surgery necessary to save the patient’s hand. Had the patient not received this surgery, he would have been severely disabled. This man now has a chance to recover good functioning in his hand.
Using supplies from MedShare in another procedure, a surgeon was able to successfully treat an American missionary who suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome in both her hands – the first time that surgery had been performed at Panzi Hospital. It is clear from the reports that MedShare’s shipments will greatly assist the hospital’s staff as they work to improve health care in the Bukavu community.