The Central Hospital of Rusayu (CHR) began as a dream in the heart of one of our supporters for a birthing room for mothers and became a small hospital serving a community of over 10,000 in extraordinary levels of poverty. Rusayu is an area where many many people have settled in makeshift shelters after being displaced from their own home areas due to conflict. Local people to the north of the hospital have also had to cope with volcanic eruptions which, after the destruction has passed, have covered the area with hard volcanic rock. There are also many pygmies who have been forced from the forest and many survivors of gender violence who live in the district.
The hospital has a maternity wing and a general wing. Its main presenting needs are for safe birthing, caesarean sections, and treatment for malaria, typhoid, general injuries and illness and high levels of rape survival treatment. There is also a clinic outpost which was requested by the government for a very poor area of Goma and a pharmacy which has recently been opened. Uwimana is the anaesthetist at the hospital and says, ‘I’ve chosen to be a CHR hospital worker because I felt compassion for the Rusayu population which is in need of humanitarian help of all kinds’.
‘I’ve chosen to be a CHR hospital worker because I felt compassion for the Rusayu population which is in need of humanitarian help of all kinds’.
The hospital is having an amazing effect on the population – within a year of opening the local neo-natal mortality rate had halved. Pygmies, who are frequently marginalised and therefore tend to shun contact with institutions, have warmed to the welcome they receive at CHR and attend regularly which hugely helps reduce maternal complications. People injured in tribal and mineral conflict up to 50 kms away are brought to the hospital for life-saving treatment. Rape survivors find comfort and healing. Uwimana reflects this transformational effect of the hospital in her sense of calling, ‘This is my calling. I feel very privileged when I am helping in a way that reflects that calling.’
‘This is my calling. I feel very privileged when I am helping in a way that reflects that calling.’
Although there is a fee structure to enable the hospital to cover costs many patients are treated free of charge as they are too poor to pay anything. That is why the staff costs need covered, as there is no government support for the hospital. Our main support is therefore the sponsorship of staff salaries which enables the hospital to keep functioning and that is where you can make a real difference to the hospital. The salaries vary considerably and a person can choose the level of sponsorship (starting at £25 per month) they want to give as a contribution towards a salary. Presently most of those dedicated and committed staff are without sponsorship.
The lack of sponsorships for the staff means that every month requires a huge effort to find the funding to cover the staff salaries. It also means all our resources are going into that, rather than expanding hospital provision and services and enabling the hospital to separate out the maternity unit, with new mums and babies, from the general unit with disease and injury. If you can help us find sponsors for CHR staff there is no doubt at all that they will be responsible for the saving and transformation of many lives. To support a doctor, or nurse or midwife or ancillary staff working in such a traumatised area is a true privilege. For someone like Uwimana, who says simply, ‘I live with some difficulties’, it will mean so much to know someone cares about the work she is doing and wants to support her in that.
If you can help us find sponsors for CHR staff there is no doubt at all that they will be responsible for the saving and transformation of many lives.