Achon Uganda Children's Fund

Mission The Achon Uganda Children's Fund (AUCF) was established in 2007 by two-time Olympic runner Julius Achon in response to the dire situation faced by the residents of his home village, Awake, in Otuke District in Northern Uganda. Ravaged by the brutal Lord's Resistance Army during Uganda's two-decade civil war, the region's residents are rebuilding their lives and community - facing inadequate healthcare and education, and many children have been left without family. AUCF is committed to helping the community rebuild through improved health care and education, access to the life-enriching benefits of exercise and sport and overall self-sufficiency.
Feb 25, 2013

Report From Kristina Health Center

Julius with baby treated for pneumonia at Kristina
Julius with baby treated for pneumonia at Kristina

Dear Global Giving Friends

I am writing to you from Lira, Uganda as Julius and I arrived two weeks ago. We are spending this week at Kristina Health Center in Awake village and spent last week with many of the 37 orphan children supported by Achon Uganda Children's Fund (AUCF). Thank you, once again, for your generous donations to AUCF. Spending time at the health center and with the kids reinforces the importance of the work we are doing and the positive impact of your donation. 

Julius and I first visited Kristina Health Center a week ago Tuesday and have returned four times since. The health center is booming - 610 patients seen in January. A line of patients formed early Tuesday morning at the center - mothers with their children, young and old men but mostly women - about 20 people. They have all walked here - anywhere from 400 meters to 10 kilometers as explained to me by clinical office, Achar Emmanuel, who I shadowed for the day. The patients and those accompanying them waited patiently on the veranda, in the shade, outside the clinic (see photo). Emmanuel told me with a smile what he hears over and over from the villagers, "we are so grateful to have local healthcare for the first time in the history of Awake, this clinic brings new hope to our village and villages beyond". Three consultation rooms and the laboratory were busy the entire day with the three clinical staff and laboratory technician treating patients; the pharmacy distributing medicines. I could see and feel a sense of pride among the staff as I watched them treat patients.

Julius mixed comfortably with all of the patients and staff; he is a celebrity in the village but is 100% just a humble man helping his people. It is easy to find Julius in the crowd; he is where the people are invariably laughing. The people love him.

In the evening, Julius and I, Julius' brother Jimmy (who manages AUCF in Uganda), Julius' father Charles who lives next to the clinic and is a village elder, and the clinic staff of five met to discuss future plans for Kristina Health Center. We have a number of challenges; I equate it to a small business that is growing rapidly and reminds me of my business days in the medical device industry.  The number of patients has grown month by month, the clinic and staff are busy from dawn to dusk; there is a need for an ambulance to transport serious patients to Lira Regional Hospital (42 miles away); we are planning to expand the staff and begin a phase II facility plan adding additional staff housing and a patient ward as many patients travel several miles for treatment and cannot return home the same day. In addition, patients require extended observation and/or multi-day treatment. 

All in all, Kristina Health Center has exceeded our expectations during its initial five months of operation. The staff is professional and extremely patient focused, the community has embraced the facility and, most importantly, local healthcare is a reality in Awake village.

 

 

am writing to you from Lira, Uganda as Julius and I arrived two weeks ago. We are spending this week at Kristina Health Center in Awake village and spent last week with many of the 37 orphan children supported by Achon Uganda Children's Fund (AUCF). Thank you, once again, for your monthly $20 donation to AUCF. Spending time at the health center and with the kids reinforces the importance of the work we are doing and the positive impact of your donation. 

Julius and I first visited Kristina Health Center a
I am writing to you from Lira, Uganda as Julius and I arrived two weeks ago. We are spending this week at Kristina Health Center in Awake village and spent last week with many of the 37 orphan children supported by Achon Uganda Children's Fund (AUCF). Thank you, once again, for your monthly $20 donation to AUCF. Spending time at the health center and with the kids reinforces the importance of the work we are doing and the positive impact of your donation. 

Julius and I first visited Kristina Health Center a week ago Tuesday and have returned four times since. The health center is booming - 610 patients seen in January. A line of patients formed early Tuesday morning at the center - mothers with their children, young and old men but mostly women - about 20 people. They have all walked here - anywhere from 400 meters to 10 kilometers as explained to me by clinical office, Achar Emmanuel, who I shadowed for the day. The patients and those accompanying them waited patiently on the veranda, in the shade, outside the clinic (see photo). Emmanuel told me with a smile what he hears over and over from the villagers, "we are so grateful to have local healthcare for the first time in the history of Awake, this clinic brings new hope to our village and villages beyond". Three consultation rooms and the laboratory were busy the entire day with the three clinical staff and laboratory technician treating patients; the pharmacy distributing medicines. I could see and feel a sense of pride among the staff as I (the muzungu - white person) watched them treat patients.

Julius mixed comfortably with all of the patients and staff; he is a celebrity in the village but is 100% just a humble man helping his people. It is easy to find Julius in the crowd, he is where the people are invariably laughing. The people love him.

In the evening, Julius and I, Julius' brother Jimmy (as you remember he manages AUCF in Uganda), Julius' father Charles who lives next to the clinic and is a village elder, and the clinic staff of five met to discuss future plans for Kristina Health Center. We have a number of challenges; I equate it to a small business which is growing rapidly and reminds me of my business days in the medical device industry.  The number of patients has grown month by month, the clinic and staff are busy from dawn to dusk; there is a need for an ambulance to transport serious patients to Lira Regional Hospital (42 miles away); we are planning to expand the staff and begin a phase II facility plan adding additional staff housing and a patient ward as many patients travel several miles for treatment and cannot return home the same day. In addition, patients require extended observation and/or multi-day treatment. 
Must sign off, but thank you again,

ago Tuesday and have returned four times since. The health center is booming - 610 patients seen in January. A line of patients formed early Tuesday morning at the center - mothers with their children, young and old men but mostly women - about 20 people. They have all walked here - anywhere from 400 meters to 10 kilometers as explained to me by clinical office, Achar Emmanuel, who I shadowed for the day. The patients and those accompanying them waited patiently on the veranda, in the shade, outside the clinic (see photo). Emmanuel told me with a smile what he hears over and over from the villagers, "we are so grateful to have local healthcare for the first time in the history of Awake, this clinic brings new hope to our village and villages beyond". Three consultation rooms and the laboratory were busy the entire day with the three clinical staff and laboratory technician treating patients; the pharmacy distributing medicines. I could see and feel a sense of pride among the staff as I (the muzungu - white person) watched them treat patients.

Julius mixed comfortably with all of the patients and staff; he is a celebrity in the village but is 100% just a humble man helping his people. It is easy to find Julius in the crowd, he is where the people are invariably laughing. The people love him.

In the evening, Julius and I, Julius' brother Jimmy (as you remember he manages AUCF in Uganda), Julius' father Charles who lives next to the clinic and is a village elder, and the clinic staff of five met to discuss future plans for Kristina Health Center. We have a number of challenges; I equate it to a small business which is growing rapidly and reminds me of my business days in the medical device industry.  The number of patients has grown month by month, the clinic and staff are busy from dawn to dusk; there is a need for an ambulance to transport serious patients to Lira Regional Hospital (42 miles away); we are planning to expand the staff and begin a phase II facility plan adding additional staff housing and a patient ward as many patients travel several miles for treatment and cannot return home the same day. In addition, patients require extended observation and/or multi-day treatment. 
Must sign off, but thank you again

Links:

Dec 11, 2012

Kristina Health Center Treats Patient #1,000

Kristina Health Center
Kristina Health Center

Last week, Monica, a four year-old girl with fever and chills, was carried—sweating and listless—by her mother approximately three miles from their hut in Awake village to Kristina Health Center (KHC). Upon arrival, Monica was registered and escorted to the shaded veranda outside with her mother until her name was called. She was carried into a consultation room and examined by senior clinical officer Achar Emmanuel, who recommended a blood test as he suspected she had contracted malaria. A drop of her blood was inspected under the microscope by laboratory technician, Joseph Joka Walter, for the presence of malaria parasites, and the preliminary diagnosis was confirmed. A prescription was written for the medication which Monica’s mother took across the lobby to the pharmacy to be filled by clinic manager John Bosco Owero. She paid 5,000 Uganda Shillings (UGX) (about $2.00 US), and promised to pay the remaining 5,000 at a later date. Mother and Monica departed for home. A potentially life-threatening disease had been identified and properly treated.

Such is the story of Kristina Health Center patient number 1,000.

Following the formal dedication on August 25, 2012 in Awake village, Uganda, Kristina Health Center opened its doors to the community and began treating patients on October 1, 2012. Julius Achon’s dream— bringing local healthcare for the first time to thousands in Awake village, and beyond to the wider Otuke District in Northern Uganda—was realized. Named after Julius’ mother, Kristina, killed in Awake in 2004 by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army, KHC is providing essential and life saving healthcare to the surrounding community. As the month of December opens, over 1,000 patients have been seen and treated. Prior to the clinic opening, patients were required to travel, in the best of cases, four miles—and frequently more than forty—for the treatment required.

Kristina Health Center consists of a ten-room clinic, with consultation and treatment rooms, a laboratory, pharmacy, office, lobby and shaded veranda. Clean water is obtained on the KHC campus via a deep bore-hole well, electricity is available via solar power and KHC is furnished, including essential medical equipment, supplies and medicines. A medical staff of five, living on campus in an adjacent four-unit living quarters, sees patients Monday through Friday, and on an emergency basis over the weekend. The all-Ugandan medical staff consists of a clinic manager, senior medical clinical officer, two comprehensive nurses (RN’s), and a laboratory technician/HIV counselor.

 Patients begin arriving at dawn, and sometimes the night before, and are seen on a first-come first-served basis, with the exception of triaged emergency treatments. Patients traveling (on foot or bicycle) up to 20 kilometers for treatment are not uncommon. Local Otuke District healthcare workers have utilized KHC for adult blood testing and childhood inoculations. Thanks to Rotary International, vaccines requiring refrigeration are available for inoculation due to the only refrigerator/freezer in the local healthcare network, which is powered by the clinic’s solar power system.

Patients are charged a nominal fee for consultation, and medicines are provided at cost, plus a small markup. Those unable to pay are not turned away, but treated and required to clear their balance before returning for treatment. In addition to the normal payment with Ugandan Shillings, recent patient payments have included a live chicken and harvested crops – which the staff used for food.  Self-sustainability is the goal for Kristina Health Center; this may take a period of years. During the interim, funds will be provided from the USA and Australia to maintain KHC operations.

So during this holiday season, we ask our generous supporters to continue providing financial support with a one-time or monthly donation.  Please visit Global Giving to help us meet the needs of patients like Monica, and the thousands of others who will follow her through our doors in the coming months. 

Kristina Health Center Staff
Kristina Health Center Staff

Links:

Sep 24, 2012

Kristina Health Center Dedicated - A Dream Realized

Kristina Health Center Dedication
Kristina Health Center Dedication

Thanks to our thousand plus supporters, friends at Nike and Runner's World and many other generous organizations, the dedicated work of the Achon Uganda Children's Fund team and our sister organization Love Mercy Australia, Kristina Health Center (KHC) was formally dedicated on August 25, 2012. Julius Achon's dream - bringing local healthcare for the first time to thousands in Awake village and beyond to Otuke District in Northern Uganda was realized. Named after Julius' mother, Kristina, killed in Awake in 2004 by LRA rebels, KHC will provide essential and life saving healthcare to the community. (note: The Kristina Health Center concept was formally launched in January 2010; construction commenced in April, 2011; the total cost of the project, thus far, is $185,000. Kristina Health Center was 100% built by the hands of villagers and local tradespersons.)

Over three thousand people, many walking several miles to the health center campus, attended the KHC dedication. As only an African village can provide, the singing, dancing, speeches and atmosphere were joyous. The Ugandan crowd was joined by a team of 27 from America and Australia who had worked diligently the past two years to raise the funds needed to evolve KHC from Julius' dream to a reality. Julius spoke to the crowd of his dream "to not let the death of his mother Kristina be in vain, but be the seed to become a flower for the community". Together with the Honorable Achieng Sarah Opendi, Uganda Minister of Primary Health Care, Julius cut the ceremonial ribbon and Kristina Health Center was declared open. Minister Achieng spoke eloquently to the crowd of the shining example of one barefoot village boy, abducted at the age of 12 as a child soldier, later to become a celebrated Ugandan Olympic runner, and then returning to his village to help his community of birth. She urged the youth in attendance to follow the example set by Julius and, as he preaches daily, "never give up".

Literally, as the dedication speeches were presented to the crowd by Julius, his father, and several other district and national leaders and before the dedication ribbon was cut, local Otuke healthcare workers provided blood testing for adults and inoculations to children of the community in the health center. Thanks to Rotary International, vaccines for inoculations were available due to the first ever solar power in Awake powering the only refrigerator/freezer in the local healthcare network, to store vaccines requiring refrigeration.

Full KHC operations will commence October 1 as the newly hired Ugandan medical staff relocate to the KHC living quarters and a large shipment of medicines and supplies is delivered. Kristina Health Center now moves to the challenge of providing consistent quality healthcare to the community and over a period of years, the self-sustainability of the facility. During the interim, regular infusions of funds will be required from the USA and Australia to maintain KHC operations and purchase additional critical elements of the health care delivery system such as an ambulance. So we ask our generous supporters to continue providing financial support with a one time or monthly donation.

 We only wish you all had been in attendance to witness this marvelous event and to see how your donations thus far have been utilized.

Minister of Health Cuts the Kristina H.C. Ribbon
Minister of Health Cuts the Kristina H.C. Ribbon

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