Go Be Sick Somewhere Else
I’m gonna change things up a bit today. Here is a guest post by Matt Chambers. Matt is father to 6 (including 1 with special needs), director of SafeWorld, advocate, speaker, writer, leader, learner. You can follow him on Twitter or contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org. He writes daily at http://ethoshift.com.
The first time I set foot in the remote government hospital in Central Uganda, I remember thinking it looked like the set from a horror film.
Dried brown stains streaked everywhere.
Insects scurrying around.
Everything was old and rusted…beds…chairs…equipment.
The hospital was built in the 1960s, and almost nothing had been replaced or updated since then.
Each ward was filled to overflowing, and many patients had to lay on the concrete floor simply because there weren’t enough beds. In other words, if you get a bed when you check in, you’re one of the “lucky ones”.
Only one (very tired) nurse oversaw forty women in the maternity ward, plus their new babies. She told me more than half of them were suffering from post-delivery infections and there wasn’t enough medication to treat them.
When I asked where all the physicians were, the hospital staff would chuckle and say, “They’re not here.”
(In Uganda, there’s only 1 physician for every 27,000 people, compared to 1 for every 380 people in the United States.)
Shortly after, I discovered this was the closest hospital to the people we work with in Bulyaake Parish…but to get there, they had to walk between seven and ten miles.
That means, they’d have to walk all day, to reach a hospital that didn’t have any doctors, and they probably wouldn’t even have the necessary medication or treatment options for their illness.
Heaven forbid they were in labor.
Something had to change.
So, we got work designing a clinic that could start simple, but be as expandable as we wanted…and was within a one-mile walk from everyone in our Parish.
Here’s what we came up with:
When we showed these plans to the amazing people in Bulyaake, they were so excited, and immediately donated the land for us to build on!
We got together with our Ugandan staff on the ground, and figured out how to build phase 1 for a mere $30,000.
There are 10,000 people that currently live in the eight villages that make up Bulyaake Parish, and this will change everything for them. Now they’ll have qualified medical help any time day or night…we won’t run out of vital medications…and if they’re too sick to come to the clinic, one of our staff will travel to them.
It’s not a flawless plan…it’s not utopia…but that’s not what they need. All they need (and want), is what you and I need: a place to go when they need help.
So why am I telling you this?
Because I need your help.
Our goal is to complete construction on this project by the end of summer 2012.
I’ve spent the last four years building relationship with the people of Bulyaake Parish. At first I looked at them as a project, but now they’re my friends…and this is far more than just another campaign to me. This is a story…this is an adventure, and at the end, we’ll have accomplished something that’s never been done in this area before.
I’m so grateful to Chris for allowing me to share this story with you on his blog today.
If you’d like to help with the project, simply click the image below.
If you have questions, please contact me directly, I’d love to interact with you!