Profile: Nyankunde, located in the northeast corner of the DRC is a 150-bed acute regional hospital with surgical (40 beds), medical (30 beds), pediatric (50 beds) and maternity services (30 beds). There is a new 13-bed intensive care unit and operating/endoscopy suite. The outpatient department sees an average of 50 to 60 patients each day. The hospital is currently staffed by (5) Congolese general practitioners, (1) American general surgeon, (1) American pediatrician, 1 American Med-Peds specialist, and (1) American OB/GYN.

Travel/Orientation: Fly by commercial air into Entebbe, Uganda. The following day fly via Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) plane to Bunia, DRC where you will be met by an English-speaking hospital representative and driven approximately 90 minutes to the hospital or fly from Bunia to Nyankunde (approximately 10 min. flight). Orientation is conducted by the Nyankunde medical director upon arrival at the hospital.

Climate: Nyankunde is 3,500 feet in altitude and only one degree north of the equator. The temperature varies little throughout the year, averaging 70 to 78 degrees. Rains are more frequent March to October.

Language: French is the official language and is spoken by all those who have been educated. Swahili is the trade language of the area and is spoken by everyone. The Congolese physicians and the OR staff understand limited English.

Charting: French. The Congolese physicians chart for the volunteers and are available to translate to patients.

Surgery: Surgeries are performed Monday through Friday, averaging five surgeries per day. We are becoming known for specialty surgery and can do such interventions as placement of ventriculoperitoneal shunts, repair of spina bifida cases, etc. We are a surgical referral center, so we receive the difficult cases who have been operated on elsewhere. Dressing and suturing are done by the surgical staff in the minor surgery room. A new building to house the surgery and intensive care units was completed in the summer of 2012. There are (3) operating rooms and a room for minor procedures and endoscopy. There are 4-5 endoscopes available, flexible with all the attachments. There is also an OR in the maternity building where c-sections are performed. More complicated obstetric cases requiring general anesthesia are performed in the main OR.

Orthopedics: General orthopedic equipment, including participation in the intramedullary SIGN nail program. There are many orthopedic cases resulting from trauma including children falling out of trees. Also trauma from auto and motorcycle accidents. Occasional gunshot wounds.

Anesthesia: Many surgeries are done under regional anesthesia, including specialized blocks. General anesthesia using Ketalar/Ketamine and anesthetic gases such as halothane are available.

Urology: The primary problems are urinary retention, urethral stricture, undescended testes, and some vesico-vaginal fistulas.

Radiology: There are (2) ultrasound machines. Abdominal, gynecologic, cardiac, and extremity ultrasounds are done by the physician. We have a digital x-ray system which has revolutionized our ability to get prompt and accurate studies of patients.

Pathology: Specimens are sent to Bunia.

Teaching: The Congolese physicians are eager to learn, thus teaching in any area of medical practice is welcome. There is also an opportunity for formal teaching at the Thursday morning physician meeting. We train medical residents during their 6-month internship (2 months surgery, 2 months obstetrics, 1 month internal medicine, and 1 month pediatrics).

Lab tests: A blood count, urine analysis, and stool examinations are the most common tests done. Blood typing and cross matching is done and transfusions are given when needed. HIV testing is routine. Chemistries are limited to blood sugar and some liver and kidney function tests. Cultures and sensitivities are available.

Pharmacy: The more common antibiotics are available. Narcotics are not available.

Common diseases: Malaria, schistosomiasis, anemia, parasitic infections, diabetes, typhoid fever, and pneumonia.

For More Information: Contact Kandi Burgess by email or by phone at (828) 278-1575.