Publication date: 15 October 2018

Good news stories from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are rare. Civil war and ongoing violence has claimed up to 6 million lives in this vast country.

This summer, Diamedica was introduced to Kathy Mellor, a neonatal nurse practitioner who is dedicated to improving neonatal care in poor countries via the charity she co-founded, BirthLink. Kathy regularly travels to eastern DRC to train nurses and improve the management of small and sick babies, and implement innovative respiratory therapies.

Kathy and her husband Paul visited the Diamedica facility to learn about our award-winning Baby CPAP that delivers safe, controllable CPAP in low resource settings. Keen to use a Baby CPAP on their forthcoming visit to North Kivu, DRC, we were able to secure a donation from Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide so that Kathy could take a Baby CPAP with her. Kathy usually hand carries medical supplies and equipment with her to improve conditions at hospitals in this dangerous region in eastern DRC.

The Baby CPAP was taken to DOCS-La Grace hospital in Goma. Staff were trained on the CPAP and the device was successfully installed in the neonatal unit. Prior to the start of the Birthlink project there was no CPAP or nasal high flow in the unit, but by the end of Kathy’s visit all of the CPAP and high flow machines were in constant use, with excellent care being given by the nurses.

BirthLink have also been working at Panzi Hospital since March 2014. The hospital founder and director, Dr Denis Mukwege, has become world famous for treating the victims of sexual violence in the region and has jointly won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad. Dr Mukwege is recognised for his work at the hospital, along with his efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. 

To learn more about the work of Birthlink UK please visit their website

Kathy Mellor with Dr Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, at Panzi Hospital in North Kivu, DRC

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