Emergency Medicine saves lives

Help develop Emergency Medicine education in the Congo

HandUp Congo’s “building a healthy Congo” project leader, Dr Vera Sistenich, in collaboration with committed project partners, is bringing Emergency Medicine (EM) Education, skills, training, and integration of EM practice into the healthcare system of the  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 


Video by Ken Kobre

Our activities started in 2015 with Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) and Université Protestante au Congo (UPC).

The team learned that the discipline of Emergency Medicine does not exist as a specialty and there is currently no postgraduate training program for doctors and nurses.  There is no functional public pre-hospital system of ambulances and paramedics, although some private hospitals provide an ambulance service.  

Basic and advanced life support are not a standard part of medical training.  Few Congolese medical institutions have the capacity to train recognised specialists of any kind, and most doctors must seek this outside the country.  

UPC is currently the only university in the Congo able to train family medicine specialists.  


After the 2015 initial assessment of the potential to deliver Emergency Medicine education through the UPC infrastructure, Vera returned in 2016 to develop the initiative further.  Enjoy reading her article: “Rhumba and resuscitation: Emergency Medicine education in the D.R.Congo”.

We continue to raise funds for the ongoing support of this project.


The situation

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a landmass the size of Western Australia, with a population of 70 million. It ranks 176 out of 188 on the UN Human Development Index.

The DRC currently has no formal pre-hospital or hospital-based emergency healthcare services. There are no paramedics, few ambulances and currently only one Congolese Emergency Medicine (EM) specialist. EM does not form part of any medical school curriculum in the DRC today.

The project

The project aims to integrate EM training into both the undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula of the reputable Université Protestante au Congo (www.upcongo.org) using international guidelines as well as educational resources developed by the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (www.AFEM.info). It will also disseminate the World Health Organisation (WHO) train-the-trainer Basic Emergency Care course as part of our commitment to sustainability.

Click the foot below to hear from Dr Sam Mampunza, VP of Université Protestante au Congo, about why this initiative is so critical for Congo.


Furthermore, this initiative is assisting the DRC’s Ministry of Health in the development of its National Emergency Humanitarian Program, in particular the disaster preparedness and response strategy for the district of Kinshasa (Congo’s capitol), which has a population of 12.7 million.


Dr Vera turns honey into money for Congo projects

As a hobbyist beekeeper, Vera maintains a beehive at her home and harvests the honey to sell for Congo projects. Click the Bee below to watch her video.


You can help

HandUp Congo seeks support for this initiative to:

  • Develop teaching curricula and translate materials   

  • Provide travel allowances for volunteer specialists   

  • Ship donated medical equipment   

  • Fund local project staff 


Your generous donation

Your donation of any amount will be gratefully received and used to provide emergency medicine in the Congo. Please designate “EM”.

Australians receive tax deductibility.


For more information