Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yotkom Compassionate Fund

We have been confronted with so many patients who have life threatening conditions and who because of poverty are unable to access curative surgery.
To address these needs we have set up a Compassionate Fund with a distinct bank account here in Uganda.
These funds will be used to help people like this 12 year old boy who was born as a "Blue Baby" with congenital heart defects. He struggles to breathe and cant walk to school. He often presents to the medical clinic in a collapsed and semi conscious state with very low levels of oxygen in his blood.
Yotkom has facilitated a review by a heart specialist in a regional centre 2 hours from here and they have advised that surgery will greatly assist his quality of life.

His is one of eight children . His father is a village farmer and he has lost his mother.
Thankyou to those who have already given a total of $3000 USD toward the $5000 required.
If you would like to help children like this get help, please give to  Yotkom Uganda.
The donation options are described on our home page.
If you would like to direct your funds to the compassionate fund, please notate the gift with "yotkom compassionate fund" or YCF.

Meet Kenneth and Prisca

Dr Kenneth Kaunda has been our supervising doctor since the medical centre opened in October 2015.
He has been working in the Ugandan Government hospital setting for four years and spending about one week a month on site working with our clinical officers . He has decided to leave the Government setting and will commence working full time on site from 1st March 2017. Its an exciting development for us and also a leap of faith as growing in size and professional standing  means increasing our wages bill considerably!
Kenneth is married to Harriet and they have two children.
He seems to like wearing Australian slouch hats too !
We are hoping that Dr Kenneth will undertake specialty training in Family Medicine in the near future.

Prisca is a well respected local Ugandan Midwife.
We have known her for many years and have assisted her with her training program.
She has agreed to help us start some Maternal and Child Health Services at Yotkom Medical Centre.
Every Friday she will undertake an antenatal clinic , screening young mothers as we play a part in reducing the high rates of maternal and child health mortality in this community.

Growing relationships, resources and self reliance

Yotkom has a vision to partner together to improve access and excellence in primary health care services in Northern Uganda.
We seek to focus on building relationships, resources and self reliance.
Strong relationships are so important to the health of our team.
One of our shared values is honesty and respect.
Part of developing this type of work culture has been the introduction of an online time clock for improving punctuality and reliability.  This approach to the work place is not that common in an African setting , but we are happy to say that our people are embracing the new technology wwith enthusiasm.
Thanks to TimeClockWizard we are much more able to track everyones movements and attendance records.
We are building good relationships with national medical insurance companies and now have three of the bigger groups who have inspected our facilities and recommended us to their clients. People in the district have also been lobbying their insurers to work with Yotkom because of our reputation for excellence and compassionate care.

We recently signed an agreement with IAA. The biggest medical insurer in Uganda.
These partnerships will help us with sustainability and self reliance and also make it possible for us to keep user fees as low as possible for the most disadvantaged.
Thankyou to those who have given donations to help us to acquire the equipment and resources we need to make this project strong.  For instance, our computer network has come together as a result of a constant trickle of donated laptops from Australia and the assistance of IT professionals to set up our system. Our network is being  used for on line accounting software, the new timeclockwizard , our medical software program for doctors and for accessing useful medical information and reasearch.
The internet also allows instant sharing of on site clinic  information with Australian directors.

Building extensions underway

We are constructing a covered and shaded area at one end of the building. This will act as a linkway between the existing building and subsequent phases.
In the meantime it will ensure our pathology laboratories and ultrasound room are much cooler, keeping out the hot tropical sun.
The area will also be a place to park vehicles and for patients to sit and talk and eat.
WE thank our recent visitors,  Mariana and Ivan , for drawing up the plans for this !

WE are also in the process of connecting to the local electricity grid.
Three power poles have to be constructed.
Our solar system sometimes needs a boost and our costs for generator fuel are becoming significant .

Watoto continue with interior fit out of Yotkom Medical Centre

Watoto Construction Pty Ltd from  Kampala have ccompleted more interior fit outs at the medical centre, installing a new reception counter , desks and storage cupboards in our administration area , as well as built in cupboards and desks in two doctor consulting rooms.
They also brought a team to sand and lacquer the terrazo floor in our operating theatre and recovery room.
The whole process has really improved our work environment and gone a long way to help us be more organised with space for files and documents.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Access to Yotkom improved

We are thankful that the Chinese road company has constructed a new driveway and pedestrian access to our facility. It has been so challenging for our patients to negotiate a steep slope into the facility. Its been a long struggle, but so good this week to see the bulldozers arrive and also the added bonus of tarmac on the highway reduces our dust soooo much !!

The challenges our community face

Yet again on this visit we have been confronted with the poverty and huge needs of the Acholi people. And yet also encouraged by their warm welcome, joy and continued friendships.  Despite their challenges they push forward in life facing challenge after challenge with such patience, resilience and a strong faith and reliance on God.  For many it is people and relationships which mean the most in life.  Material possessions are few and struggles are many. I often hear the words, “Mama it is so hard”.  And the requests for help can be overwhelming at times.
It is a challenge for these people to find employment, pay school fees, buy enough food, pay for transport costs, health treatment, rent, burial costs and the list goes on. Food is more expensive this year as some of their rains have failed and we are told that there are people in the villages who are starving.  This lack of rain has inflated prices as supplies are low.  If people are lucky enough to be connected to power they are often frustrated as the power supply is so unreliable.  I was told yesterday that at times the power is off for a month, but they are still required to pay the monthly charge for connection.  The excuse is that the company has been load sharing, or the poles are damaged.  Corruption is rife and the innocent suffer. Insecurity has been a problem in the last few months but an increased police presence in town and a confiscation of guns and capture of the offenders has brought relief in the last month after a number of  innocent people were robbed and killed.  People are now able to move freely again at night, with a number of police patrolling the town at night.
Amidst all this our committed medical team at Yotkom continue to deliver compassionate wholistic health care. We are proud of the work they do each day.

Watoto construction partnership

We have recently employed Watoto builders from Kampala to do some carpentry and fitting out of our theatre.  This was completed and we have been happy with the quality of their work.  So we have given them the go ahead to fit out our reception area and some cupboards in our consulting rooms.  This will be completed before Christmas.

We are hopeful that Watoto Construction Ltd , based in Kampala , will have a future role to play in the construction of our Yotkom Maternal and Child health facility.

Architects and Service providers from Finland have been collaborating with Watoto and also gleaning lots of information and feedback from the community and our Yotkom medical team , to help with future design.
We had an all day work shop this week with Veronica, Mariana and Ivan from Finland and it was a lot of fun and very informative.

Orom Medical outreach

Last Thursday Yotkom sent its first team out to Orom a small town about 1 and a half hours drive from Kitgum.  There are about 30,000 people in this area but no doctor.  There is a small govt. clinic run by a nurse but supplies and services are limited.  Now that we have our own vehicle for transport we are hoping to take a health team to Orom every Thursday.  We will do this as a 3 month trial initially. We are renting a small local building for this medical outreach and taking our own staff and medical supplies.  Our team consists of a doctor and or a clinical officer, nurse, laboratory technician, admin assistant and driver.  There is a small fee for service as this is the only way we can cover our costs and make this clinic sustainable.
  Last week our staff saw about 90 patients.  Andrew was very tired after a 12 hour day.  Some referrals were also made.  One mother , after seeing the team last week, brought her child to the Yotkom clinic in Kitgum for treatment as advised.  This 1 year old little girl had a bone infection in her L leg and the resulting weakness in the bone had caused the bone to fracture.  The child was unable to weight bear on this leg and there was some resulting shortening of the leg.  This was diagnosed on x-ray at our Yotkom facility.  The child has been admitted as an inpatient for treatment and hopefully the infection will respond to antibiotic treatment and allow the bone to heal.  Our orthopaedic clinical officer James has a lot of expertise in this area and we have been thankful to have him join our staff recently.

Yotkom Maternal and Child Health services coming closer

Andrew and I (Anne) have been in Kitgum now for a few weeks.  When we arrived we were happy to see our staff working well, the clinic clean and tidy and many of the policy and procedures that we have put in place being followed.

We have three visitors from Finland here helping us at the moment. Mariana is an architect who is completing her masters degree and together with Ivan ,an interior designer ,will draw up plans for building a future Child and Maternal health facility.  Veronica works for a non for profit organisation 
called (m4id) who are specialising in providing services for maternal facilities in resource poor settings.

So in the last week they have been busy running workshops and gathering information, interviewing women who have recently delivered, and visiting some of the current facilities available in Kitgum and an outlying village facility.
The needs in the maternity area here are great and the community have been asking us if we could provide a facility for them to receive quality and compassionate maternal services.  The average Ugandan woman has 7 children so there is a substantial need for health services in this area.

Veronica returns to Finland today, with Mariana and Ivan staying for another two weeks to begin the preliminary plans and to further liaise with Yotkom staff during this process.  We thank them for their time and expertise which they are giving free of charge towards the Yotkom project.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Building the quality of our health services

We are currently spending time together in teaching and training and building up the quality of health services provided at Yotkom Medical Centre.
Dr Andrew Wright, Yotkom Australian Director  , and Matthew Durden , final year medical student from James Cook University, Queensland have been attending ward rounds and seeing outpatients alongside our Ugandan clinicians. There continue to be many cases of Malaria. Other infectious diseases and cases of trauma are also common.  The clinic is becoming increasingly busy.
There are good opportunities for teaching and mentoring.

We have a good emergency room for acute cases and this is often used for resuscitating patients who present with advanced disease. Many people delay coming to a doctor till they are extremely unwell because of distance and costs and sometimes firstly using traditional medicines. This makes it very challenging for our doctors and nurses to save lives especially in a resource poor setting where modern investigations and treatments are not available. Despite these difficulties we are seeing many people healed and it's very satisfying to receive their thanks and smiles for the care received , as they head back to their homes .

Yotkom is also exploring ways we can become involved in rural outreach as the level of poverty and sickness in these outlying districts is significant. We have had meetings with the Orom community, approximately 100 km from here .

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yotkom Medical Centre OPENING Video

Gateway Baptist Church has released a short 3 minute video , sharing about the Yotkom story and  showing footage of the recent opening ceremony .
This was attended by Pastor Jason Elsmore and other Australian guests.
It was a wonderful time of exuberant celebration and thankfulness  to God for all that has happened over the past few years .
We are thankful  also to everyone of our supporters and partners who have played a part in this story .
Please continue on the journey with us.

Yotkom Medical Centre opening video April 2016

Thankyou to Nick Paton for the filming and editing.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Official opening ceremony. Yotkom Medical Centre

It has been six months since the Yotkom Medical Centre started serving the community and  treating the sick of Kitgum community.
On the 9 th April 2016 we held an official opening ceremony.

Local officials attended and community representatives as well as 17 Australian  citizens.
We really appreciated our friends travelling all this way to share the joyful day with us .
We all enjoyed some traditional Acholi singing and dancing presented by the community here.

The pastor of Gateway Baptist Church ,Jason Elsmore, helped Andrew and Anne Wright with the official opening duties.
Gateway Church have been one of our key partners and supporters.

Other guests included Dr Michael Burke from Healthserve Australia

And leaders and students from the South Sudan Clinical Officer training school , Jonglei..joined in the celebrations.

Our Yotkom medical clinic team looked very smart in their new uniforms .

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ultrasound Service commences at Yotkom

After a long wait we were excited today to take delivery of a new ultrasound machine.
This will really benefit our patients and help improve our capacity to make correct diagnosis.
Thankyou to kind donors in Australia who gave specifically for this purpose.
Meanwhile as we prepare for our opening ceremony we are reminded that we battle constantly against dust in this environment. It gets into everything !

Pat holdsworth, a highly skilled paramedic from Australia is taking a series of lectures with our medical staff on resuscitation and trauma management.