A Vision Fulfilled: Training Center Opens!

The space is situated in the outpatient building.

On Friday, April 12, 2019, HEAL Africa launched a training center, made possible by AusHEAL and its Australian friends and partners. The center is part of a vision held by Dr. Jo Lusi and his late wife Lyn, when they initiated the work of HEAL Africa in the 1990s. Although the organization has undergone some restructuring and changes in leadership over the years, the dream to train Congolese nationals to assist their own community has never wavered.

The construction began last year, with a thoughtful ceremony. Like other important events at HEAL Africa, the opening of the new building was no different. A celebration ceremony and dedication took place, with local officials in attendance, local partners (particularly those who have contributed to the training of HEAL Africa’s healthcare workers), HEAL Africa personnel, as well as representatives of AusHEAL. Senior Pastor, Jason Elsmore, of Gateway Baptist Church, a major project funder, sent his greetings and blessings, by video.

A prayer of dedication before the ribbon cutting. The UN Indian National soldiers, who have invested in the training of HEAL Africa’s medical staff also made an appearance.
Dr. Serge (Medical Director), Dr. Justin (HEAL Africa DRC CEO), Dr. Jo Lusi (HEAL Africa Co-Founder) and Paul Bakes of Australia, gather for the ribbon opening with Goma’s mayor.
A tour stop in the library.
Surgical skills “training” demonstration during the building tour.
Mannequins to be used for training.

We place great value on education at HEAL Africa. After all, training locals with the necessary skills to transform the Congo was at the heart of Lyn and Jo Lusi’s dream. They recruited healthcare professionals for training. They mobilized expertise within and outside of Congo to build capacity. Whereas Medical Residents and healthcare workers hopped from one room to another, often in tight spaces, books and folders overlapping that of other students, the opening of a training center is a dream come true and a faithful commitment from our friends in Australia.

Dr. Neil (left) presented a PowerPoint on the need for a specific Training Centre (AusHEAL has trained doctors –now they can train others) and thanked major funders of the Training Centre.
Paul Bakes represented the major funder, Gateway Baptist Church, Brisbane. Paul is a member of the Gateway Board of Elders.
Dr. Jo introduces Goma’s Mayor to Dr. Neil.
The Mayor spoke about his hope that Goma would lead the way in improving healthcare throughout North Kivu Province and further afield in Congo. He concluded by officially declaring the HEAL Africa Training Centre “open”.

The new space will accommodate the following trainings for the following:

  • Family Medicine
  • Basic Essential and Emergency Surgery
  • COSECSA- College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa
  • Orthopedic Officers
  • Club Foot
  • Fistula
  • Intern
  • Nursing
  • Clinical Pastoral Training (Chaplaincy School)
  • Radiology
  • Anesthesia
  • Administration
Mayoral refreshments while guests inspected the facilities:
Library & Reading Room / Residents Room / HATS (HEAL Africa Training Services) Room / Training Rooms x 2 / Kitchen Facilities & Storage Room / Main Lecture Room which can be divided into 3 separate smaller Training Rooms (separated by concertina doors that were constructed in Caboolture Qld).
The new building, top floor, in context.

AusHEAL’s aim to inspire hope in eastern Congo and empower HEAL Africa as an organization pushing for the best possible holistic healthcare, has been a blessing to HEAL Africa. In 2000, Lyn and Jo traveled to Australia, planting seeds within individuals to bring their talent and compassion to Congo. Dr. Neil and Gwen Wetzig were among them. They dropped the comforts of home to invest the majority of each year at HEAL Africa. As if mentoring and teaching our Medical Residents to provide quality care were not enough, the establishment of the training center is evidence in their servant leadership and heart for the Congolese people.