Since 2007, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we have developed an academic collaborative research and clinical training program in conjunction with HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma and Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. HEAL Africa is a Congolese NGO in the provincial capital of Goma that supports a tertiary care hospital. The hospital has a general residency program, and a large community outreach educational program that focuses on women’s health issues such as maternal mortality, prevention of maternal to child transmission of HIV and preventing and treating gender-based violence. Panzi Hospital is a Congolese-run tertiary care hospital in the city of Bukavu with a genital fistula repair program that includes training for regional physicians.
Current collaborative projects in the DRC demonstrate our commitment to addressing the broad spectrum of women’s health, as well as building the research capacity of our local partners. These include family planning counseling for women with genital fistula, regional female HIV epidemiology, portable ultrasound training and utilization, research and medical-evidence access training, as well as local faculty research initiatives, which include the use of misoprostol for the treatment of incomplete abortion and the epidemiology of gender-based violence in the region.