Repairing women’s health and dignity in the DRC

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A fistula-free generation for 13 communities in DRC

posted Oct 24, 2013 by Alyssa Tartaglione

Progress

Since the Catapult project has been awarded, EngenderHealth has utilized its procurement expertise to purchase the components which make up the fistula kits (scissors, needle holders, scalpel blade holders, speculums, forceps, needles, retractors, catheters, sounds, probes, and basins). This involved the completion of a rigorous cost and quality analysis to assess numerous potential vendors by a team of clinical and procurement specialists.

The second area of activity has involved coordination with staff at Panzi Hospital to arrange shipping of the fistula repair kits to the town of Bukavu where Panzi Hospital is located. From Bukavu, they will be delivered to 13 hospitals. The fistula repair kits are now in country and Panzi Hospital’s team are coordinating their release from customs.

Risks and challenges

Eastern DRC is a particularly challenging environment to work in; ongoing conflict, poor infrastructure, unreliable communications, and weak institutions make planning and coordination of activities a difficult task.

Specifically in activities so far, the navigation of the local customs environment for staff from Panzi Hospital has been difficult and time consuming. Releasing equipment from customs is costly.

Get personal

Since the kits have not yet been delivered, no personal stories are available yet.

Next steps

1. To connect with local customs authorities to ensure correct procedures are followed for the release of the repair kits to Panzi Hospital.

2. To plan surgical team visits to outreach sites where the kits can be used.

3. To carry out the outreach activities and monitor outcomes.

Budget:

The overall budget allocated was $15,080.97.

To date a total of $10,002.47 has been used:

• $8582 was used to purchase the 13 fistula repair kits from Universal Medical Products.

• $1420.47 was spent to cover shipping fees (DHL) to enable to kits to reach Eastern DRC. We anticipate that the remaining funds will be used to cover customs fees.

Lines items Projected budget Amount spent so far
Fistula repair kits $15,081 $10,003
  • Health
  • Maternal health
  • Reproductive rights

Provide fistula* repair kits for surgeons to offer services to women in need.

Why we care: Fistula is a devastating condition that affects more than 2 million girls and women in the developing world. With proper care, it can be repaired in 90% of cases.

How we're solving this: Providing fistula repair kits that will allow surgeons in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to perform life-altering procedures.

Since 2008, EngenderHealth has worked to improve the quality of and access to health services in the DRC. Partnering with two facilities in the eastern part of the country, we address obstetric and traumatic gynecologic fistula. The main focus is reducing the number of new fistula cases and providing surgical treatment to those suffering from fistula.

In addition to providing services at these facilities, the trained surgical teams conduct routine outreach services at hospitals in other parts of Eastern DRC.  We have identified an additional 13 sites in Eastern DRC that would benefit from having a fistula repair kit on site. Your support would make it possible to offer services to women in need by supplying equipment necessary to conduct surgical repairs. 

Each kit, with materials sourced in the United States, includes:

  • 8 scissors
  • 4 needle holders
  • 1 Scalpel blade holder
  • 5 speculums
  • 23 forceps
  • 1 needle
  • 2 retractors
  • 1 catheter
  • 1 sound
  • 2 probes
  • 3 types of basins

*Fistula is a hole that develops between the birth canal and one or more of a woman's internal organs. 

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