DOCS is pleased to announce that it has merged with HEAL Africa effective November 14, 2014.
The history of DOCS and HEAL Africa is intertwined since its inception. During the summer of 1993 Dr. Jo Lusi and his wife, Lyn, visited the United States and were the house guests of Dr. Paul and Macky Groen.
Though they lived on different continents, the four of them discovered that they shared many perspectives and passions. The Lusis lived and worked in Africa. Dr. Jo had been born in DRC, and Lyn lived most of her
adult life in Africa. The Groens had served in medical missions in Nigeria during the 1960s before moving back to the United States. Subsequently, the Groens made frequent trips to serve and teach in African hospitals.
These four Christians spoke at length about the need for more trained physicians and better health care in Africa - health care that would address physical, spiritual, and emotional needs for all. These kindred spirits then went back to their respective homes.
Their next encounter took place during March of 1994 in Nairobi, Kenya. Here the vision, thoughts, prayers, and communications that had taken place since the meeting in the US began to take shape.
The Lusis and the Groens agreed that they had a calling to meet these health care and educational challenges through a cooperative venture. The Groens returned to form a not-for-profit corporation
in the United States while the Lusi's began sharing the vision and eliciting support and cooperation from Africa organizations. They agreed to name this new organization, Doctors on Call for Service (DOCS).
In 1996 Dr. Jo Lusi became the DOCS African Director and Dr. Paul Groen served as Chair of the DOCS Board. Goma was chosen as the location for the establishment of a teaching hospital.
Lyn and Macky filled multiple roles, often without title or compensation, in these early years. By 1999 Lyn Lusi became an employee and was compensated for her extraordinary efforts in identifying and
meeting needs in the Goma region.
The early years were filled with the typical challenges of starting a new organization. The difficulties for this new organization were multiplied by the social and political instability that characterized the
eastern DRC region. The effects of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 spilled over into DRC, and the First (1996-1997) and Second (1998-2003) Congo wars resulted in many casualties and caused massive
social instability. DOCS kept growing and serving the people of eastern DRC in spite of these difficulties and challenges.
The Nyiragongo volcanic eruption in 2002 presented great challenges and great opportunities for the work. The world became aware of the needs of eastern DRC and many responded with gifts. In Goma
the needs were overwhelming and varied. The organization rebuilt its facilities, adding staff and programs to meet the needs. Dr. Jo Lusi gave direction to the medical staff and facility construction; meanwhile Lyn Lusi focused on meeting the social needs of the affected communities.
In 2005 the DOCS board split to form two separate organizations. One organization (DOCS) would concentrate on medical education in various locations in Africa, and one organization was dedicated
to the needs of the people and communities of eastern DRC.
DOCS, under the direction of Dr. Paul Groen and Dr. Ahuka Lagombe, built a reputation for providing excellent continuing medical education for doctors in eastern DRC and Rwanda. Semi-annual
conferences were held. Volunteer medical educators provided classroom instruction and hands-on teaching experiences for hundreds of doctors. A teaching clinic was built that served thousands
of patients and provided hands-on experiences for doctors to learn new skills. In 2013 the DOCS clinic became financially sustainable through local fees and funding.
HEAL Africa, under the direction of Dr. Jo and Lyn Lusi, focused on the medical and social needs of the communities of eastern DRC became known as HEAL Africa. Using the hospital in Goma
as a base, they built multiple programs that addressed the needs of eastern DRC communities. In this area ravaged by war and poverty they provided health and hope to communities, especially
to those who were most vulnerable. Dr. Jo and Lyn were instrumental in forming partner HEAL Africa organizations in the US, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Rwanda. Volunteers
from around the world often come to provide specialized training, but the work is planned, led, and accomplished by those who are native to the culture.
During the years 2006 to 2012 HEAL Africa experienced remarkable growth in services to a geographic area that suffers from political instability, economic deprivation, and natural disasters.
Radiating out from Goma the staff and volunteers from HEAL Africa reached into hundreds of villages throughout eastern DRC with hope and healing.
In 2013 HEAL Africa and DOCS began discussions about re-uniting the organizations that had gone in separate directions in 2005. Joint projects between 2009 and 2013 helped convince
both organizations that they could do more working together than they could working separately. After eight years of separation the boards of each
organization approved the concept and are once again one organization working together to bring healing and hope to the people of eastern DRC.
Continuing medical education is a critical component of the work that is now part of HEAL Africa. For more information about Medical Education, Health Services, and
Community Programs, please visit www.HEALAfrica.org.