Skip to content

Bringing hope to 9 patients who have been in extreme suffering for years

27 May 2024

On Sunday April 30, 2024, Aviation Sans Frontières Belgium enabled the air transport of 9 patients from the provinces of Lomami, Tanganyika and South Kivu. These patients suffered from problems of urogenital fistulas with multiple complications, which could not be supported in the field.

The mobile clinics of Panzi Hospital provide medical consultations and training of field staff. Medical teams from Panzi hospital then come to operate on the patients in the field. But for certain medical cases that are too complex, the only solution is medical care at Panzi hospital, in Bukavu.

The distances of several hundred km to travel, the absence of roads and armed militias unfortunately make this journey often impossible. This is when Aviation Sans Frontières intervenes to offer patients life-saving air transport.

These patients suffered from unbearable pain and incontinence problems.

Dr. Mukwege, having been informed of the unfortunate situation of these patients, considered it crucial that they be urgently transported to Panzi so that they could be treated there free of charge.

© Panzi Foundation

Alphonsine Kitenge: “I’m 25 years old. The fistula problem started when I gave birth to my first child when I was 17. He was born stillborn. I saw stinking water coming out of my stomach. They told me that it was the bladder that had just burst. They hadn't done anything yet, I stayed like that, only taking certain painkillers to reduce the pain. Other women made fun of me, saying I smelled bad. For my part I felt as if I was just going to die.

What I have to say about ASF is to only thank for its grace. She agreed to pay his money for the plane so he could bring us here to Bukavu so we could receive care. We say thank you again because it spared us from several dangers. »

Godelive Apikaki: “This fistula problem appeared when I gave birth to my first child in 2007. I am currently 28 years old. I have no children, only the only one who died during childbirth in 2007. Now that I am in Panzi, my wish is that I can regain my health, that I can give birth. I no longer know what I came to do on this earth, perhaps just the suffering that never ends. I thank ASF for sending us a plane which came to pick us up in Kalemie to bring us here in Bukavu, to the Panzi hospital waiting for me to be treated."

© Panzi Foundation

Dr. Mukwege, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018: “When we call on Aviation Sans Frontières, it is to go to inaccessible areas, to restore humanity instead of the bestiality that is there; therefore I think that for us the airplane is not a luxury, but a means of expressing our collective humanity! »

© Panzi Foundation