Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homeward Bound!

Tonight I am enjoying a nice hot shower and a quiet room in a Kampala hotel before flying back to Oz tomorrow. It is a time to reflect on all that has happened in the past 5 weeks. Working with Andrew and Rowena as a team in Kitgum has been an amazing experience as we have seen Gods favour on so many areas of work . It has definitely been a situation of God going before us and so great to be partners in His work of responding to the needs of the people of Kitgum, Uganda.  Awesome also to work with Irene Gleeson and John Paul and all the other 400 Ugandans employed by IGF (childcare) in their health and education projects.  I spent some time with Irene and JP tonight at a cafe here in Kampala and it was emotional saying goodbye to them and also Vincent, one of the sponsored medical students who has been shadowing me for the past few weeks.

 We spent quite a bit of time today getting computer hardware to set up a small network in the new clinic so that we can install the consulting software, Best Practice, donated to us by the Australian company. I believe this will do a lot to improve clinical practice, record keeping and data collection, as well as facilitating research in the clinic. It will be a first for Uganda !

We scoured the streets of Kampala, through dust and choking fumes to seek out computer bargains!.  Also had some thrilling boda rides through the traffic mayhem !

How did we get here ?

After a rather gruelling 7 hour bus trip from Kitgum on Thursday ..............................

Fortunately with seats behind the driver and chickens shoved into the luggage hold and not next to us...............our sticky crusted bodies  finally  clambered off the bus onto the kampala bus park and leonard our taxi driver  rescued us and drove us to Rubaga to the Verona Hotel.....
In Kampala...
Amazing homeland superbus which leaps over giant potholes in a single bound!
we hit the road early friday morning, praying hard that by some miracle we would be able to submit our inspection documents to the Health Department and collect a signed certificate to say we had achieved registration as a Private Non for Profit Health Centre.  I was even hoping this could be done in one day ?? Ha ! (TIA:this is africa!)
Initially the man in the office said it might take 2 weeks., then he said the lady who had to sign it wasnt coming back till Monday... 5 minutes later she walked into the office, smiled, took our forms and told us to come back at 1pm at which time she duly handed over the certificate . Gob smacked again we are !

Amazingly productive visit to bureaucracy!
On Friday morning we were also able to place an order with a local Laboratory Supplier to provide the clinic with a Microscope and testing equipment which will make it possible to diagnose Malaria, TB, urine and faeces infections , anaemia and rapid tests for syphilis and rotavirus (common cause of diarrhoea in children). The CEO of the company is from northern uganda and keen to help us, giving us a discount and some free test kits. He travels to Kitgum regularly and can provide assistance and services for the laboratory equipment. Joel , our Lab Tech was very excited !

Almo Diagnostics welcome us
We  headed back to our hotel at Rubaga, a suburb of Kampala where I tried to look presentable with my limited wardrobe so that I  could attend the wedding of George ( a local gospel artist) and Brenda at the Miracle Church, followed by a massive reception at a very upmarket resort on the shores of Lake Victoria. It was quite an amazing night, although we were all starving hungry by the time the first course of food was served at 10pm! The Africans looked truly decked out in their colourful outfits and suits. I felt a bit like the pawper off the streets !

George and Brenda at the altar

Benjamin (alfreds son) and JP daughter  Ella

Christian, JPs son in Coat Tails !

SO,  all in all it has been an amazing ride over the past 4 weeks in Kitgum. Much of the time, Andrew and Rowena and I have worked as a closely knit team and we have seen so much come to life ! The whole experience has been an incredible blessing and so faith building !,
During this time a Primary Health Clinic has been fully fitted out with internal walls,benches, painting, and electricity and furniture, all now ready to be used as a primary health clinic serving the community. ( definitely not possible without engineer andrew on the job !)Other health facilities have been upgrading and Government approval given for registration, opening up more funding opportunities. The medical team on site has been strengthened and encouraged (thanks Rowie for your amazing part iin that !) and a Clinical Officer and Laboratory Technician have been employed. A computer network and software system is about to be set up. LAboratory equipment has been purchased which will allow more acccurate diagnosis of conditions on site and more targeted treatment.  I am committted to ongoing team building and supervision (in a new and exciting role as Director of Medical Services at IGF)   and I know Andrew and Rowena will have a continuing connection with the work in Kitgum. Thanks so much to all for your words of support and your prayers over all this time It has made all the difference on the ground!.
Keep posted to this blog for further developments and please consider helping us financially with ongoing needs in the medical centre.  Pray for a safe trip home for me please, and not too much work waiting to sort out in  the office !   More information to follow!

Final Inservice meeting on Values of the Health service
Benson, RN  at Triage/Registration desk

Peter, Clinical Officer in Consulting Room 2

Benson and Peter in Dispensary/Pharmacy
Waiting roon in Clinic