Project #9919

Provide health care to 15 villages in postwar Gulu

by Karin Community Initiatives Uganda
treating malaria
treating malaria

A community-focused approach


According to the 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey, Malaria is endemic in approximately 95% of the country, affecting over 90% of the population. The remaining 5% of the country consists of unstable and epidemic-prone transmission. The central north in particular suffered a serious outbreak of malaria in the period for the last one and a half years and this has destabilised the response.


For the last five years, the country has intensified actions to bring malaria under control. At the health centre we are ensuring that we are on track in carrying out interventions to control Malaria as we move towards the pre-elimination phase. One of this interventions is the Case Management – Application of the Test, Treat and Track principle, Integrated Community Case Management


Though cases of malaria incidences have reduced in the last few months, the Ministry of Health have intensified its bid to eventually eliminate malaria in the region. Long lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) that have been provided to our health facilities and through a mass distribution campaign

The campaign, dubbed “Areymo Malaria – Sleep under a Mosquito net” is coined because of the one year epidemic in Northern Uganda . The campaign is intended to reduce the Malaria morbidity and mortality through achieving universal coverage with LLINs. The campaign aims to ensure that 85% of targeted populations have access to a LLIN and 85% of all nets distributed are utilised.


“Most households do not use treated mosquito nets,” said George a long time serving community health worker.

When he began as a volunteer in 2008, George saw many cases of malaria, but there was little he could do. With no support for diagnosis or treatment, he could only educate community members about the dangers of malaria and urge those with a fever to seek out care in the nearest health centres many miles away.

That afternoon, George administered a rapid diagnostic test to a young man with fever and explained how to avoid infection. He then gave the family a treated mosquito net. With 21 children of his own, he could speak from experience. Sweat beading on his brow, he focused intently on the process, and then paused for a question from Gloria.

“Am I tired?” he said with a laugh. “Oh no. I will be doing this for many more years. I’m happy because I’m helping my community.”


George and other community health workers are trained, but they’re supervised by local health facility. Close collaboration with these groups has been a key to “Aryemo Malaria’s” success, particularly in faraway places like Cetkana village.

“Many of the communities we serve are very hard to reach,” said Clinical Officer Gloria, the incharge of Karin Medical Centre, Unyama. “And if you aren’t well known, it can be difficult to mobilize the people.”

This in itself, she says, may be the health centre’s greatest achievement of all.

“As soon as you say Karin, people come. They know us, and they know how we work—that the health centre belongs to them.”—Gloria


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Going to clinic
Going to clinic



Improving Children's Health through eduction


Nurse, Winnie teaches children about good hygiene.  Diarrhea is one of the biggest killers of children under the age of five. Though it may not always lead to death, often times children spend long periods away from school thereby affecting their performance in school.


Rose one of the parents explains to Winnie. “As a mother I know the pain you go through when your child is lying in bed sick instead of going to school. She is unable to play with her friends because she is very weak.”  And yet according to Winnie, many of these illnesses can be prevented through basic hygiene and sanitation practices. She says that its one of the goals of the clinic to regularly teach children with good hygiene practices with the aim of improving their health in their communities.


We base our health education on three principles to keep the germs away.  Wash your hands. Use clean, safe and uncontaminated water. Use clean latrines.


We ensure that we pass these messages to schools because we realize that young children are most vulnerable to illness related to uncontaminated water or poor hygiene practices. They are also quick to learn when we show them what to do.


At the clinic children who are brought sick with diarrhea are treated with ORS and Zinc.

ORS is the cornerstone of diarrhea treatment in low resource settings.  Sugar, water, salt- this simple mixture has saved millions of lives and costs just a few pennies. It is easy to prepare and administer at home. These items are also readily available in the rural communities. ORS empowers parents with the first line of treatment for children suffering from diarrhea.  

At the Karin clinics the nurses treatment with education, giving mothers immediate access to ORS and clean water while teaching them about hygiene, breastfeeding and nutrition.  

We are always grateful  for the support and urge you to continue supporting these vulnerable children.


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baby taking ORS at the clinic
baby taking ORS at the clinic


ill child
ill child

With the availability of good services, Karin Medical Services, has had a tremendous improvement in health services delivery and an influx of patients especially young children. Among the common health problems identified in the clinic is the concept of false tooth, its presentation and the management practices.

False teeth among children are a Public Health problem which has not received adequate attention in Uganda. False teeth are a common problem among children mainly affecting children of two years old with no sex differences. It is believed to be caused by witchcraft and at times it comes on its own. This disease causes diarrhea, Acute Respiratory infection (ARI), fever and loss of appetite, restlessness and vomiting which are also believed to be key signs and symptoms for the disease. It seems there are no home remedies for the treatment of false teeth. “Oral/dental surgery” is mostly used as the common form of treatment of “false teeth and rubbing of teeth. 

For Apio, this was the case with her 8 months old baby. She was told that her child was suffering from false teeth. Her baby had been suffering from diarrhoea for the last one week, she had lost weight and was no longer taking breast milk. She spent sleepless nights worrying about her child, until one day her neighbour told her to visit the local herbalist. The local herbalist rubbed some herbs on the baby’s gum and using a sharp instrument removed something which looked white, and she was told that this was the cause of the baby pain. He assured her that the baby will be well. With a bit of relief, Apio left for home, however, her child was in such great pain and cried all day. Unable to bear this Apio, decided to visit the Karin Medical Centre, she explained to the clinical officer the condition of her child and her visit to the local herbalist.   

“In this community the knowledge about “false teeth” treatment is quite rife, with many mothers resorting to home remedies for the treatment of false teeth and rubbing of teeth. One of the greatest challenges of this practice is that the herbalist do not sterilise their instruments and no anesthesia of any kind is given to the children”, noted the Clinical officer of the Karin Medical Centre. The clinical officer, noticed the bleeding in the child and provided the necessary treatment. 

False teeth are still a community Oral Health problem among children which needs emergency action especially in this era of AIDS/HIV. The community needs more understanding on the issue of false teeth. 

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As we celebrate World Malaria Day I reflect on what we have done to prevent malaria and the challenges parents go through.


I met her in the clinic when she brought her five weeks old baby. Neatly wrapped in a yellow sheet. Her first baby, it broke her heart to see the baby in pain. "He not breastfeeding well," she said, in a low tone. I could see the pain in her face. As we got talking she shared with me how much she loved her baby and that when it came to naming him. She searched for the best names until she settled for Lagum, meaning "the lucky one". 


I have had the honour to lead this organisation, and as a public health specialist, part of my work involves training volunteers and staff to reduce the disease burden- to fight malaria in the communities.  As I watched the staff working with the patients, I am proud to see the impact we have contributed in fighting this disease.


Last year's malaria epidemic in the region has made me think less and less about the children saved and more and more about the children that still need to be saved. Last year 162 people died of malaria in various health facilities in Northern Uganda and 22,873 case were registered. Sadly, most of those were children under 5 years old. To me, these numbers are so disturbing. However, I am still grateful that we manage to reduce the malaria mortality. 


Over the years we have spent much time working in preventing malaria, however, to me the most painful part is witnessing death in children.  The memories of one particularly has remained etched in my mind till this day.  


As a mother these memories have remained row. I keep thinking of the mother whose child had severe malaria, he was convulsing when they brought him in the clinic. With her hands over her head, her face was full of fear. She could hardly explain the child's' condition. I know the trouble she is going through as I have also nursed my own children. 


In the years we have worked in this community, we have touched the lives of thousands with malaria prevention efforts.  In our small ways we have lent a small but humble hand to the national scale bed net distribution campaigns. We have walked in the villages and tied up the bed nets for those that could not do it themselves. We go back and check that they are still using these bed nets or they need new ones.


We touch the communities everyday in ways big and small. In the villages we converse with the ladies and share with them simple ideas of how to reduce the breeding of mosquitos around their homes. We advice them on what to do once they feel sick. Its these simple conversations that make a difference in people lives.


For now I will continue working at teaching on the prevention of this disease. I will continue talking about what they should do to prevent from being bitten by the mosquitoes. I am thankful that with the tools we have managed to keep children safe under the bed nets at night with the insect treated mosquito nets, that the staff providing good and coordinated treatment that involves all the line health workers.


Malaria is real and yet its preventable. I thank you for what you have done so far in ensuring that we have the medicines to test and treat for malaria. The struggle is not yet over untit we eradicate malaria completely. It is possible.


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Health workers
Health workers

Dear friends this week is the world health workers week. 

We share with you some experiences of some of our health workers.

We were at Agung village, for an outreach when I got a phone call from the incharge Nurse Scovia, that I needed to return to the clinic to attend to an emergency.  We had already seen many clients and was told by the village Health volunteer that a group of people were on their way for treatment. 

She said it was a four year old girl. “ You should go, David,” my colleague said, voicing my thoughts.

So I quickly hoped onto a motorcycle (boda boda) and when I arrived, the young girl was already receiving the treatment we had to offer. We went outside to speak to the uncharge about her differential diagnosis, and plans to transfer her to another health centre once she stabilises. But while we spoke, I racked my brain to find something, anything that could help this poor child. But I knew that only one thing could save this little girl - prayers.

I approached the mother. I told her that her child was going to be well, because we are doing all that we could. I asked her if I could pray for her and her child. We held hands and went to our Father in prayer.

For a district that suffered many years of war, the region still grapples with social and economic challenges like child illness, illiteracy as well as unemployment. The problem of the chronic shortage of trained professional staff in the Karin healthcare facilities is still high.  This is the same case in the rest of the region and country. Only 38% of healthcare posts are filled in Uganda.  Those healthcare staff who are working, have little incentive to work in poor rural areas like Unyama. Some 70% of Ugandan doctors and 40% of nurses and midwives are based in urban areas, serving only 12% of the Ugandan population.

As I look at how far the Lord has brought us and the experiences and memories in Karin, I know I should not just take the case of this little girl lightly.  She was able to get medical help immediately when she arrived. This was not the case many years ago because of the civil war. 

It is again times like this that I am so thankful for where the Lord has placed me. Saving lives! Nursing has drawn me to do good and gain new skills. I have gained a lot of competence since I joined Karin Medical Centre, because through my times here, I find myself participating and relating to my patients and co-workers with humility and (I hope) patience. What I have realised is that we may not know this but we have a vocation. We have answered to the Lord’s call. 

Without the dedication and commitment of the health workers in this community, our goal to end preventable child and maternal death would be impossible.

Yet again, our work and partnership with you is just as valuable.

We thank you for all the support that you give to make our work easier.



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Organization Information

Karin Community Initiatives Uganda

Location: Gulu - Uganda
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Hope Okeny
Gulu, Uganda
$13,032 raised of $25,394 goal
152 donations
$12,362 to go
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