east kivu


Bukavu, South Kivu, (East) Democratic Republic of Congo

It was originally named “Costermansville” (in French) or “Costermansstad” (in Dutch) under Belgian rule. The most spoken languages in Bukavu are French and Swahili (and multiple dialects of Swahili is spoken by the people) but people also speak their native tongue. Swahili was spread by the Arabs and Waswahili from Zanzibar even before the arrival of French.  

Complicated delivery

Our journey back to Kitchanga was difficult. On the morning of our departure, we received a 17 year old girl, Nina, at our health center in Kivuye. Nina was pregnant and her contractions had started the night before. Unfortunately, the baby’s head was in an occipito-transverse position and the labour was failing to progress. This means that the baby’s head was stuck in the pelvis. The road conditions were bad…

We finally arrived after a 3 hour drive. We were received by one of obstetricians, Dr Marie-Josee. Nina was swiftly wheeled into the delivery room. The baby’s head was just visible. The ventouse was tried three times without success. Just before we decided to go for a caesarean section, Nina pushed for the final time. A midwife quickly clambered onto some steps and applied fundal pressure, pressing hard as Nina grunted and cried out. All of a sudden, a little baby girl popped out. She was blue and the cord was around her neck. After brief but intense stimulation, we heard the welcome sound of a baby’s cry.

Nina is now doing ok but both mother and baby are still in hospital. She is actually one of the lucky ones… Happy stories like Nina give us just enough hope to smile and square up to another day.

Angie Angeline Wee is a Family Physician working in Kitchanga in the North Kivu province of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This is her second mission with MSF.