Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

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.