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Wilsonville Physician Brings Aid to Congolese Refugees

by Marlene Minor | Dec 05, 2013

(WILSONVILLE, OR, Feb 2, 2010) A Wilsonville physician with Medical Teams International leaves tomorrow to care for families fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Michael Sluss joins the third volunteer team sent to a Ugandan refugee camp where thousands of Congolese people are seeking medical care, food, clean water and shelter. Sluss, a neurologist at Oregon Neurology PC and tropical medicine expert, will be in Uganda for more than a month. He will serve with volunteer Janice O’Connor, a registered nurse from Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Media: Dr. Sluss will be available for interviews/photos prior to his 10:00 a.m. departure, Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the Horizon/Alaska ticket counter, Portland, Airport. Please meet him no later than 8:30 a.m. so he can clear security. (He will be wearing a turquoise jacket.)

Experts say 5.4 million people have died in the Congo’s decade-long conflict. 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. These diseases run rampant in the camps where 40,000 people live in cramped quarters with scarce water and sanitation.

“We are one of the few agencies helping across the border in Uganda as well as through our partner in the Congo.” says Joe DiCarlo, director of emergency relief at Medical Teams International. “This is the worst man-made disaster I’ve seen in my career in serving people. The health challenges are enormous. We are sending in volunteers as well as mobilizing our Ugandan staff members. These people survived and cared for their own nation after a civil war. There’s no better team to care for these refugees. But they need our prayers and our support to keep medicines and teams flowing in each month.”

Sluss and O’Connor will hand carry nearly $15,000 in antibiotics, bandages, anti-malarial medication and other medical supplies to Uganda. This past December, Medical Teams International sent more than $560,000 in medical supplies to help families affected by the Congo conflict.

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.