Maranatha is well and truly back in business! It has been a very exciting – albeit tiring – past few weeks. The first few months after we arrived in January was full of set-up and administration tasks, logistics and HR as we developed our staff team again. Now we have put most of that not-so-exciting work behind us and can get on with the business of what Maranatha Health exists to do – and boy is it fantastic to be up and running again!! As mentioned last update, we opened our doors in early April. It has been a slow start, but this has given us much time to ensure all our procedures are working and that our staff are trained well! Click here to read about some of the patients we have seen already.
All of our work so far would not have been possible without our extremely dedicated administrator Maureen, who you can read more about here. She is doing a fantastic job of running this place and has taken the role in her stride. Even last night, we had to organise a patient to be transferred to the main referral hospital in Kampala, and Maureen stayed at the clinic long past most other staff, leaving only when the ambulance left at 9.30pm!
Building the trust of the local community and ensuring that people will turn to Maranatha Health when they are sick has been quite a challenge, but a fantastic insight into why and how people seek care from health centres in Kabarole district. More than anything, we have seen that word-of-mouth through good experiences and testimonies from patients is the number one way that the community will embrace us and choose our facility. Further to this, many poorer communities automatically assume all non-government clinics will be prohibitively expensive, and it has taken time to prove that in fact, Maranatha is a clinic of affordable health care and compassionate costs. Time and time again in the past 2 months since we opened, we have had worried relatives pace the ward at Maranatha, anxiously asking about their bill as the admission lasts longer than expected. But time and time again, the reception room has been filled with relieved laughter as poorer patients are given their bill which is always significantly less than other clinics. This learning opportunity about trust and community assumptions will come in handy in the coming months, as we begin to assist other clinics to seek the trust and attention of their local communities.
When are we starting to work with other clinics to improve their services, I hear you ask? Soon! Our staff have been busy travelling the district, visiting most of the health centres in Kabarole to see what already exists, what services are out there, and to introduce ourselves as a referral option for sick children. As we do this, we have been identifying potential clinics to partner with in the future – but at this stage, our work will include learning from their staff and the challenges they face, as well as testing out some of our initial ideas to make sure we are on the right track! More on this in another update soon…
Otherwise, thanks for all your support, prayers, gifts and ideas. Nothing of this would be possible without all of you and your incredible dedication to the mission of Maranatha Health. Go team!
- Kim & Michael Findlay