Profile: CME, located in the northeast corner of the DRC, is a 120 bed acute regional hospital with surgical (30 beds), medical (30 beds), pediatric (20 beds) and maternity services (30 beds). There is a new 13 bed intensive care unit which is equipped with new and up to date equipment. The outpatient department sees an average of 50-60 patients each day. The hospital is currently staffed by five Congolese general practitioners. There is no long term expatriate staff with the exception of an American OBG physician serving until approximately September 2011.

Travel/Orientation: Fly by commercial air into Entebbe, Uganda. The following day fly via mission plane to Bunia, DRC, where you will be met by an English speaking hospital representative and driven approximately 90 minutes to the hospital. 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 70-78 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 some English.

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

Surgery: Surgeries are performed M-F averaging one to two surgeries per day, unless there is a visiting surgeon when the caseload increases. Many are emergency C-sections with hernias a close second. 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 will be completed in the summer of 2011. There will be (3) operating rooms and a room for minor procedures and endoscopy. There are up to five scopes available, flexible with all the attachments.

Orthopedics: General orthopedic equipment. 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. General anesthesia using Ketalar is all that is available at the present time. Training will be needed for other types of general anesthesia.

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

Radiology: Portable X-ray machine will be operative later in 2011. There are two ultrasound machines. A short term volunteer would check the set-up of the x-ray machine and teach staff how to operate the machine. The whole process of developing films needs to be set up and then teaching staff how to read the films. The focus will be on chest X-rays, bone problems, and fractures.

Pathology: Specimens are sent to Bunia.

Teaching: The Congolese physicians are eager to learn, thus teaching in any area of medical practice is welcome.

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 though the incidence is only 1 percent. 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 generally available.

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

For More Information: Contact Elaine Graybeal by email or by phone at (828) 278-1605.