Over 200 residents of Migyera, dressed in their finest, took seats under two large tents shadingthem from the afternoon sun to witness the formal dedication of their new St. Francis Health Center in Migyera, Uganda on Wednesday, July 4.
Under a third tent sat dignitaries from state and regional governments, Bishop of Kasana-LuweeroPaul S. Semogerere, ChangeALife Uganda's Rev. Lawrence Kitzito Kimbowa, guests, and members of the U.S. ChangeALife Uganda team. Speakers, including a representative of the local towns people, praised and thanked the commitment and generosity of their "American friends" who helped to complete construction of the clinic and provide funds to equip and staff it. The newly improved clinic now provides infant and family wellness care, and soon,maternal health services. The clinic staff treated 300 patients on opening day.
Speaking on behalf of CALU and its many supporters in New Jersey, President Jean Semler said,"We are honored to have the opportunity to work with the people of Migyera to improve the quality of care you receive. We came today to celebrate with you the opening of the new St. Francis Health Center, and also to see what else is needed to enable the clinic staff to provide more comprehensive health care services. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with you and the staff to make this a premier health center."
The festive celebration included a medley of lively native dances by the children of St.Lawrence School and a buffet dinner for attendees. The CALU Team included President Semler, Vice President David Thelen, Health Care team Karen Hinckley,MBA, Susan Peacock, R.N., Evelyn Wells, M.D. and Lito Fune, M.D., both ofJersey Shore Medical Center, and Rosemary Carroll, member of the CALU Board of Directors.
Drs. Wells and Fune worked a full day treating patients alongside clinic Medical Director Dr.Ronald Lubega. Early laboratory tests of 98 patients revealed 20 cases of malaria and 10 of typhoid. Of 198 patients tested for HIV, 15 were HIV+ including two children. Since then, the number has grown to 86 HIV+ patients and other serious health problems have been identified.
Friends of CALU were inspired to provide the funds needed for the clinic after the unnecessaryand tragic death last year of Christopher Bakwana, a child who contracted malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. The boy did not have access to a nearby clinic. "Now children in Migyera will have access to quality healthcare," said Jean Semler. "Our wonderful new facility is here to prevent deaths of other children from malaria."
The following is a recent correspondence to ChangeALife Uganda president Jean Semler from Father Lawrence, the director of The ChangeALife Uganda Foundation in Uganda. This is the most recent update on the new Health Centre in Migyera to which you all have so generously donated. ChangeALife Uganda is extremely grateful to all of you, without whom we would not have been able to make this health care dream a precious reality for so many people in need.
Kind regards and many thanks,
Jean,The health centre is going to open (good news), the plan is to preliminary openin May (with Staffing, equipment(some), and treatment), the official opening isgoing to be fixed in June/July when the team will be in Uganda.... I know thereare some few minor uncompleted items, but they cannot stop us (words fromSister). Despite the hassles we are going through, we should be consoled to seepatients getting quality treatment from the centre. Usually the beginning isnot easy but I have encouraged Sister to keep focused. Jean Lets keep our hands in prayer, we have done our best, thank you so much.Fr.LawrenceThe following operational details for the health center have been put in place.Ownership: The Health Centre's legal owner is "Kasana-LuweeroDiocese"The Health Centre Board:A team of 7 members have been chosen.The Staff:Currently hired are a registered nurse, a nursing assistant, laboratorytechnicians, and a cleaner.Payment: The first 6 months will be paid under subsidy from CALU (Change A LifeUganda) until the health centre income picks up.Equipment: Due to limited funds, not all the health centre equipment will beinstalled or fixed at once. For the start up, the following items will be putin place: some desks, some beds, curtains, benches, cleaning equipment,medicine, and some medical equipment.Role of CALU: Funding agent for various health program within the health centre.
We have exciting news - completion of the construction of the Migyera Health Center is imminent. These photos were taken mid January and the work has been ongoing. Finish date is next week.
Next step is supplies, equipment and most importantly staff. Although we still have a way to go to before it is fully operational with staff and supplies, your contributions are helping us open the door to provide some basic health care to the Migyera community. We are very grateful for that step forward and hope we can do more as the year and funding unfolds.
The project is ongoing so if you know anyone who might want to help with medical supplies, drugs and equipment, we would greatly appreciate their donation.
Let's hope the opening ceremony is in February...we'll keep you posted!
Construction on the health center continues. The plumbing has been installed, water tanks connected, lavatories completed and window and door frames installed. Going forward, the lab needs to be tiled, glass in the windows and the building painted along with other finishing touches. But we are on the way thanks to our wonderful donors.
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