The doctor from Bend who saved 100 lives a day

Bend physician’s medical mission a success
By Medical Teams International
Tigard, Oregon

Dr. Randy Jacobs cared for thousands of Congolese refugees; now ready to talk about experiences.  Dr. Randy Jacobs, a Medical Teams International volunteer, helped save 150-300 lives a day for a month in southwest Uganda. This emergency room doctor from Bend, Ore., cared for thousands of displaced Congolese families who fled severe violence and intense rebel fighting in their homeland.  Most have witnessed shocking atrocities and traveled dozens of miles on foot into the safety of neighboring Uganda.

Dr. Jacobs and Colleen Bradley, RN and Medical Teams International’s Ugandan staff daily cared for refugees. Infected wounds, cerebral malaria, broken bones and snakebites ran rampant in the UN-sponsored camps. Without the Portland-based agency’s efforts, families would not have access to urgently needed medical care.

Aid workers estimate that more than 5.4 million people have died in this decade-long conflict which primarily affects the central African countries of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda. Up to 45,000 people continue to die each month—most of them women and children—from easily treated diseases like malaria, upper respiratory conditions and chronic diarrhea.  Medical Teams International recently received a $594,000 grant for continued work with Congolese refugees from the U.S. State Department.

“Our work was lifesaving for the 20,000 refugees,” says Dr. Jacobs. “Our team treated 150-300 acutely ill patients per day, six days per week, mostly women and children. Severe malaria, systemic infections, dehydration, pneumonia, malnutrition, and obstetrical care along with acute injuries and abscesses were daily challenges.”  

To contribute to the Congo Relief Fund, please visit our secure donation page; call 1-800-959-4325; or mail funds to Medical Teams International, PO Box 10, Portland, OR  97207-0010.

Author: Tracey Goldner

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