We are very excited that generous donors in Australia have entrusted the project with the funds necessary to complete stage one of the medical centre, costing approximately $125,000 Australian.
Much of the giving for this took place over the Christmas season and was facilitated by Gateway Baptist Church in Brisbane. We are so grateful for their partnership with Yotkom.
This is the dry season, so an ideal time to start building, although also intensely hot and dusty which makes working and living here rather challenging. By the afternoon most people are wilting and drained of energy!
One of our major challenges to resolve before building starts is to deal with the recent resumption of some of our land by the Chinese company contracted by the Ugandan Government to build a key road running from Kampala to Southern Sudan which passes by our front door.
Many people in Kitgum have been affected by this road which is threatening to remove established businesses and homes and cause major hardship to the local community.
We are urgently seeking to examine our options so as to not delay our building project.
Ideally we hope an alternate path will be chosen for the road. Alternatively we will need to modify our planned structure to fit on the reduced land size. Our design engineer, Andrew Kilama is currently working on this. We trust compensation for any land loss will be forthcoming and perhaps allow us to purchase some vacant lots adjoining us ,suitable for future expansion.
As this process continues, Dr Andrew will be working in the medical clinic and at St Joseph's Hospital .
Already we have been reminded of the acute medical needs of the community as a man in his fifties this week died of tetanus. It's encouraging to know that our medical team is already providing a much needed service to Kitgum in the rented facilities they are currently using. A woman in her 40s was this week operated in to have a mastectomy for breast cancer. This was performed by a local surgeon in our treatment room, with a single solar light during a power outage, with the assistance of our registered nurse. The woman will go on to have radiotherapy and chemotherapy in Kampala. Hopefully her life has been saved by this curative surgery. We found her recovering well on our ward round this morning.