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.
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