HEAL Africa addresses the health care crisis in the DRC by intentionally training healthcare professionals and conducting medical research. Verifiable statistics for the DRC are difficult to obtain, however, it is reliably estimated that there isless than one physician for every 10,000 persons. In this context it is critical to train physicians and other medical personnel in county.
HEAL Africa’s hospital in Goma is a highly regarded teaching hospital for training healthcare professionals. It offers training in Family Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics, General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Radiology, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics. HEAL Africa’s programs, done in conjunction, with DRC universities are credentialed by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.
In spite of urbanization, nearly two out of three persons in DRC live in rural areas with limited access to health care. One of the cornerstone programs for HEAL Africa is the specialized training of the Family Practice Residency Program. This four year program provides the opportunity for young doctors to upgrade their knowledge, interact with physicians from around the world, and to specialize in Family Medicine, without leaving Africa. These doctors are trained with an eye toward service in non-urban contexts.
Helping practicing physicians remain current is a major challenge within the DRC and surrounding areas. Medical advances take place constantly. New treatments and new regimens offer new hope for patients. A critical component in HEAL Africa’s educational commitment is Continuing Medical Education for practicing health care professionals. HEAL Africa hostslectures given by international visiting doctors for the medical community of Goma and eastern DRC. Medical teams recruited individually, by churches, or institutions in North America, Europe, and Australia volunteer at HEAL Africa, teaching theory and practice in addition to working with Congolese doctors in the wards.
Research undergirds medical advancement in diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately many physicians in developing countries, especially those in rural areas, lack access to the results of the research and information. Interaction with and practice of research, fosters on-going evaluation and monitoring of the outcomes of various interventions for effectiveness.
Research that is focused on the diseases most frequently encountered in DRC and surrounding areas is of special interest and assistance to health care professionals serving in these areas. HEAL Africa highlights the importance of continuing research in a number of ways. All residents complete several supervised research projects over the course of their training. Many faculty members engage in research and are published. In addition, each of the Continuing Medical Education (CME) conferences feature segments in which the research done in the DRC is presented to those gathered for the CME.