This year has been an incredibly full year for MH Uganda – full of new opportunities, innovative programs, a busy clinic and dedicated work from our team in Uganda. The last few months has been no exception!
Now to the first and most exciting news: We now own our very own piece of land in Kabarole District! A massive thank you to all those who donated to make this possible, and to the MH Uganda management staff and board members who gave their time and energy to see this through. What an exciting time to be a part of the Maranatha Health story! We have purchased a piece of land close to our current health facility, and it is quite a breathtaking site for a new hospital - tranquil, quiet and with stunning views. We feel very blessed to have acquired it, and look forward to putting some buildings on it once the architecture plans have been drawn up and funds allow!
Michael and I returned from Uganda more than 7 months ago now. It has been a time of great transition, of settling our family into life here, and of reflection as we attempt to discover what is on the horizon for us. One thing which has remained constant through all of this change, is our love for Maranatha Health and our commitment to the life-giving work that is happening in Uganda through our team. Michael visited Uganda in October and was, as always, impressed by the work happening. It was an extremely productive and successful trip. Our team in Uganda have confirmed what we already knew to be true (as I wrote here): their ownership of MH and their belief in the poor accessing quality health care has made the organisation strong for the future. While at times providing oversight to the organisation from afar has been challenging, with some teething issues, technology has made it possible for us to still provide very hands-on support to the management team and feel immensely connected to what is happening in Uganda. I (Kim) have been working several days a week to provide this support and plan to do this into the future.
This month is a month of farewells to some wonderful skilled volunteers we have been lucky to host this year. Danielle, from the US, has been at MH for over 6 months working on research at MH and conducting some qualitative monitoring and evaluation of our programs. We are extremely grateful for her investment into the MH team to build their research capacity. Emily, from Adelaide, worked intensively with the community team to develop robust evaluation resources for our community program, including upskilling our staff in data collection and basic analysis. These two ladies are a fantastic example of what we would hope for all volunteering with MH to be – placements with purpose, respect and mutual learning, which develop resources and build capacity of MH for the long haul. If you are interested in skilled volunteering placements in Uganda please get in touch – MH is keen to focus more and more on robust evaluation and research, and would welcome volunteers who can work with our staff to achieve this!
The clinic continues to provide life-saving care. We are now offering paediatric surgery services every 6 weeks which continues to grow in its scope as the word gets around about this important service that is not available elsewhere in the district. We are extremely grateful for the partnership with our surgeon from Mbarara hospital!
Our community health program – the Abahabuzi B’eyamagara – continues to grow in size and impact. Recently, we expanded into our third village, a neighbour to our first village. Whilst gathering the baseline data, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the practices our community change agents have been promoting in the first community have, through a process of osmosis, already spread significantly to the second. A huge encouragement and a reminder that poor communities are the best partners and leaders when promoting good health!
Let us leave you with this cute little face! Mbusa is 3.5 years old and weighs only 10 kg. He came to MH very sick with severe acute malnutrition, oedema and covered in skin lesions. As he received treatment with medicines and therapeutic foods, he started to improve medically but for some days was still unable to walk and was completely uninterested in the world, with a very vacant and sad look which severe malnourished children often have. He stayed with us for 10 days. By the end of his stay he was a completely different child: cheering up everyone, giggling and smiling, and even chasing his older sister around the facility. Our community team are now visiting his family at home to help them establish a Kitchen Garden to ensure Mbusa and his siblings are getting opportunities to eat nutritional food! As always, if you want to be a part of making this kind of change possible, donate today by visiting www.maranathahealth.org/give!
Kim and Michael Findlay