The Mayo Clinic team currently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo sent the following update:
"We set off very early for Panzi. Dr. Sean Dowdy and Dr. Emanuel Trabuco headed to the OR. Their first case was a woman with a very severe fistula. The surgery lasted 5 ½ hours. They had brought a product developed for hernia repair that turned out to be very useful in repairing the tissue defect from the fistula. They then did four additional cases. Dr. Doug Creedon assisted in the OR and made contact with the local medical school with a goal of establishing an ongoing educational partnership. Lois McGuire saw patients in the outpatient gynecology clinic. Dr. Phil Fischer taught the medical students. Dr. Deb Rhodes joined a wonderful Congolese internist in the outpatient internal medicine clinic. The range of cases was immense – kidney infections, gastric ulcers, diffuse bone infection caused by salmonella, liver tumors the size of the entire abdomen, type 1 diabetes, schistosomiasis, even a case of tetanus. Not one case of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerotic heart disease – western diseases caused by having too much, whereas patients here suffer from the opposite – too little clean water, food, vaccines and access to early medical care.
Lois and Dr. Rhodes then went to visit the City of Joy with Eve and Christine. This dream of Eve’s and Christine’s, supported by V-day, is an oasis of nine beautiful houses, a spacious kitchen and dining area, a technology center, a school, vegetable gardens, and safe open spaces where 90 women survivors will live for 6 months at a time. They will have access to counseling, group therapy, leadership training, school for their children, and a safe place to sleep at night, with the goal of turning pain into power so that they can return home and empower their community to stop the violence."