HEAL Africa was founded in 1994 by Congolese orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kasereka “Jo” Lusi, and his wife, Lyn Lusi. It takes a holistic approach to development that is shaped by the belief that in order to make sustainable improvements in health, the community must be involved and engaged, while cultural values, attitudes, and practices must be examined.
The organization has placed considerable focus on improving maternal and child health in eastern Congo, which claims one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world.
HEAL Africa partnered with ECI in 2010 to address the financial and social deterrents that discourage women from delivering at a health center by creating maternity insurance collectives, community banking, and by training rural healthcare professionals.
2,200 women were given micro-grants in groups of 8-10 to invest in their farms and small commerce. At the end of every month, each woman in the group contributes $1 to a maternal insurance fund. This fund is then used for medical care, including pre-natal checkups, delivery at a health center and any other related medical care.
This gives women who normally could not afford healthcare the opportunity to receive treatment throughout their entire pregnancy. 356 women in the groups have given live births with no maternal or neo-natal mortality.
As many women prefer to give birth at home, HEAL Africa has trained 96 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to identify warning signs of a complicated birth where a woman must be taken to a health center for medical care.
If a woman is taken to a health center, she pays $5 to deliver, which comes out of the maternal insurance collective. $4 stays with the health center and $1 is given to the TBA for the referral.
HEAL Africa has also worked with the personnel of 15 health centers to provide training in emergency obstetric care, including the use of partographs and other simple interventions known to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Watch this video to learn more about Heal Africa’s history and work.More CBO Success Stories