International Medical Corps and partners announce the launch of a new medical facility in Kalonge, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the first remote rural reproductive health center in eastern Congo devoted to serving women and survivors of gender-based violence.
The facility, the Kalonge Reproductive Health Complex, located approximately 25 miles north of Bukavu, in South Kivu province, just completed its 18th operation on local women to repair fistula. This debilitating and painful condition, often caused by obstetric emergencies, as well as sexual violence, leaves a woman incontinent and causes severe reproductive damage. Previously, women seeking medical care for fistula had to make an arduous trip, mostly on foot and through rebel-held territory, to Panzi Hospital in Bukavu.
The Kalonge Reproductive Health Complex also provides reproductive and maternal health care for 20,000 women of child-bearing age in the region. The health center, located adjacent to Kalonge Hospital, is co-managed by International Medical Corps in partnership with the local Ministry of Health and a local NGO, CELPA, or Communaute des Eglises Libres de Pentecote en Afrique (Free Pentecostal Community Church in Africa.) The project is designed so that its management can be turned over to the Ministry of Health.
International Medical Corps has worked in the DRC since 1999 to provide health care, nutrition, food security, sexual and gender-based violence prevention and treatment, and water and sanitation services. In many areas of North and South Kivu Provinces, International Medical Corps is the only international nongovernmental organization that has maintained a permanent presence. Today, International Medical Corps supports 85 health facilities in DRC, including forty-two in North Kivu, forty-one in South Kivu, and two in Maniema. In total, International Medical Corps has served more than one million people in the Congo, 80 percent of them displaced by war.