Highlighting the vital work of Central Hospital Rusayu

The Central Hospital Rusayu in D.R. Congo is carrying out vital work, making medical care and supplies available to all levels of society. It is widely reported that there is an exceptionally high rate of sexual violence and rape in this area, and we recently received testimonies from a number of survivors who have been treated at CHR.  Their stories are harrowing, and though distressing to read, their situation is representative of the plight of so many women in North Kivu and serves to emphasise the absolutely vital service that the CHR provides in giving access to surgery which would otherwise be prohibitively expensive.

A busy Central Hospital Rusayu

In the first of these testimonies, Caroline* tells of being attacked when she was collecting food from the field for her children:

Those men reached me and they showed me the machetes they had in their hands, telling me they would cut off my neck if I resisted them or cried out. They were not ashamed to take my clothes off and assaulted me one after the other […] The worst is that when I told the event to my husband he laughed at me and did not want to hear me, shouting at me not to continue speaking. From then on he rejected me and even cowardly abandoned me with the kids.

“After 9 months I delivered a baby boy at CHR. Now I live with my two children at school and this baby without any kind of assistance because their father has gone and now married to another wife after my rape. I testify with gratitude that my health is getting better since the Rusayu Maternity and General Clinic medical team took good care of me with medicine, food and daily spiritual assistance. I thank this Rusayu Maternity and General Clinic medical team for the good conditions I was well treated in and from the depth of my heart I say thank you to Comfort International, and the programme donors for their pity and good hospitality they have on abandoned women in our country in general and our area Rusayu in particular.

Abigail* was 14 years old when she was raped, collecting wood for the fire. She tried to keep it a secret but realised she was pregnant and becoming very unwell:

As I was getting sicker and sicker I came here to the CHR (Central Hospital Rusayu) to meet the Doctor for my case and after he heard me they encouraged me to come for treatment. They gave good and regular follow up of my pregnancy until I gave birth.”

After giving birth, my child had never been in good health because of our life conditions. Always in hospital with my baby at CH Rusayu, but he unfortunately died. After my baby died, life went on getting more and more difficult and in this state of illness, CH Rusayu has never stopped treating me freely.”

These stories are truly heartbreaking, but they are not isolated incidence. Tragically, this is a daily occurence in Rusayu and the surrounding areas. This is what the CHR staff are facing on a regular basis and it serves to highlight the vital importance of the work that they are doing. We thank you for your continued support in this critical work. 

a little can change a life

*all names changed to protect identity