This year the UK team consisted of 5 doctors, 5 nurses, 1 physiotherapy assistant and 6 others who worked in administration, triage, crowd organisation, the distribution of donated goods and photography. In addition to this we were supported by the Uganda team who provided essential transportation, interpretation, community knowledge and problem solving and are invaluable – as was Dr Wilson who allowed us to practice under his Ugandan medical certification.
We ran open clinics in the three areas of Bombo, Ssanga and Nakaseke where the charity works. The people that we were able to help as a result of your donations, both in kind and financially, were many and varied. We counted around 1,000 patients who were seen and documented – there will always be more that we don’t necessarily have on record.
We have treated a range of conditions, from the “life or death” mercy dash to hospital with a very sick baby, chronic disease such as raised blood pressure and diabetes, arthritis due to long term “wear and tear” of the joints, to coughs and runny noses caused primarily by dust and fumes.
Most people who come to our clinics have had to walk miles and then have to wait to be seen. They are prepared to do this as, for many, this will be their only chance to get medical treatment. We try to triage the waiting people to ensure that those who are most in need of treatment get seen first. Anyone displaying life threatening symptoms will be dealt with as an emergency.
We continue to try to build on our network of contacts locally and in the national referral facilities. Our dedicated volunteers are always on the look out for ways to improve what we are doing and resources that we might tap into. My thanks to them all and also to the support that is given by so many to provide free medication, mosquito nets, clothes, shoes, Days for Girls kits and other items.
Over the years we have been aware of a number of health issues to do with women’s health in particular and we have tried to address these in a number of different ways. Our first big initiative was to provide washable sanitary wear kits made in the UK by groups of ladies under the Days for Girls project (see www.daysforgirls.org). This has been enormously successful and we have given out over 400 kits and along side this we have been able to get groups of girls and young women together to talk about their bodies, family planning and answer their questions. Days for Girls now have an online course to become an ambassador for women’s health and we hope that we can train up some of the Ugandan team to deliver this information to their communities in the future.
This year, with the help of Dr Alison, Sarah Bunjo and Robert’s wife Naomi, we ran women’s health talks in each of the areas where the charity works. The response was incredible and there were so many questions! Dr Alison was able to dispel some of the myths about certain types of contraception and explain the workings of the female body with the help of an illustrated pair of large white knickers! We hope to continue to develop this work on our next medical mission as there is clearly a great need and a hunger for knowledge.