Sister Mary Felice shares an update about her ministry in Lukolela in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I have been in Lukolela for nine months now. We don’t have Internet access there thus I have lost touch with many people. I am now at our Provincial House in Mbandaka and the Internet is working, so I am taking advantage of the situation! ...
In Lukolela we have a 128-bed hospital. We have 4.5 doctors and we recently hired another. Sister Marie Cecile is the medical director. She is 74 years old, from Italy, and has been in the Congo I believe more than 40 years! Our hospital has the usual departments: internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, an emergency room and laboratory. Each doctor has the responsibility of a department – mine is internal medicine, where we have 30 beds. Besides doing rounds in our department we also take turns covering the emergency room, we each have one day per week in the operating room, and we take turns being on call at night. Myself and Sister Marie Cecile also do ultrasounds and we may be sending another doctor to be trained. We treat much malaria, typhoid, malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis, amebiasis, filariosis, hypertension and trauma.
One of our largest challenges since I have been here is a lack of physicians because we are rarely all present, thus those who are must be on call frequently at night and the days are busy. I continue to pray that it will improve. I also continue to hope that one day we will have Internet access!
We have nine Sisters in our community in Lukolela and one postulant. We also have a school.
... I am including some photos from our hospital. I left unexpectedly early, thus I did not have the occasion to take specific photos to send but I’m sending some nonspecific photos I took earlier of patients – a young woman with malnutrition and diabetes, a child with an eye injury, of family members collecting water falling from the roof, and some goats seeking shelter from the rain, outside internal medicine department.
We are a reference hospital for a large rural area. There are health centers located in some of the small villages that give basic care, but when something is beyond them they refer it to us, thus many of our patients come from far, by bicycle, taxi, motorcycle or by the river in a pirogue. (We are located on the Congo River.) Our operating room is quite busy with appendectomies, hernia operations, cesareans, gynecologic surgeries and bowel perforations from typhoid. We also do many blood transfusions, especially for children, because of the anemia caused by malaria (secondary to hemolysis).
Love, Sister Mary