Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

Monday, June 9, 2014

YOTKOM UPDATE JUNE 2014

Yotkom Uganda         is a small non for profit organisation registered in Uganda.
The project has 5 directors , 2 from Australia and 3 from Uganda.
The board of management is predominantly made up of Health professionals from Australia and Uganda.

Our vision is to improve access and excellence of Primary Health Care services to Northern Uganda.
We seek to do this through building strong relationships , sharing resources and encouraging self reliance.
Our organisation is faith based  and our values reflect this strong Christian ethos.
We value Honesty, Transparency, Compassion , Justice and Respect within our team and strive to maintain these standards in our care of others.
The community we serve in Northern Uganda is defined by high levels of poverty and unemployment and a lack of infrastructure and services due to over 15 years of civil war.
The disease burden is high with many children under five dying from infectious diseases such as Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea.
Women on average in Uganda have 7 pregnancies, and with each one the risk of mortality is 20 times higher than that in Australia due to limited pregnancy care and safe birthing facilities.
Yotkom Uganda is seeking to address these needs through training and mentoring of high quality health professionals and provision of good diagnostic services.
We are currently working closely with an established Primary Health Care/ General Practice in Kitgum town, Uganda.
We have a regular financial commitment to assist with medical staff wages, chaplaincy and ongoing education and training of existing professionals and future team members who work in this community.
We also have a vision to build a purpose built medical clinic and maternal and child health centre for our team to work in.
Yotkom has purchased strategically located commercial land in Kitgum and developed  a construction plan for our future clinic building.
We appreciate our donors assistance for our ongoing committments (currently approximately $15,000 per year ) and also toward the $250,000 target for our  building fund . We hope to commence building in 2015. Stage 1 will be a primary health clinic , costing approximately $180,000 and Stage 2,  a maternal and child health centre for $70,000.

Because of our size we have minimal administrative overheads and can target our donor funds directly to the health needs on the ground. We also have transparent financial declarations and are subject to monitoring by AUSAID through our partner organisation in Australia, Healthserve. This organisation also provides tax deductibility status for our donors.
Latest developments as of June 2014 include:
1. We are working on our plans for a medical clinic construction, calling on expertise from project managers, builders, architects and engineers here in Australia and Uganda. A significant Christmas fund raising appeal promises to give us sufficient funds to commence building in early 2015.
Please consider helping through your donation to contribute to this Health Care Facility .Your contribution could help us reach our target of completion by July 2015 .

2. In April this year our project team developed a particular focus on addressing needs and researching causes of Nodding Syndrome, a debilitating illness affecting children and communities in Northern Uganda. We have developed a specific project proposal for a rural village outreach to address the needs of disabled children and their families and we are working with other organisations to seek funds for this specific proposal.

3. Doctor  Andrew and Anne Wright are Australian  directors of the Yotkom Project and have made a decision to relocate to Doha, Qatar where Andrew will be employed in a new Primary Health Care/ General Practice role from August this year . We see this as a strategic opportunity which will build strength in the Yotkom project . Andrew and Anne  plan to commute more regularly from Doha to Northern Uganda for supervision and project management and to work alongside  Ugandan medical colleagues. Andrew and Anne will be able to continue to meet all their own expenses related to the project and ensure all  donated funds are directed to delivering services in Kitgum.

4. The Yotkom Uganda Support team will continue to meet every three months in Brisbane to provide support and accountability for then Australian leadership . Our Support team provide their expertise in many areas including Information technology, Business development, accounting, media , medicine, nursing, dentistry and Pastoral Care / Chaplaincy.

5. A container with some medical equipment and materials for the new clinic will be leaving Brisbane in August bound for Kitgum. We thank the The Mater Hospital Brisbane for their generous giving which makes this possible
6. A small team will be going to Kitgum in October with a focus on Emergency Medicine training and upskilling and Womens ministry. Team members include Pat and Maree Holdsworth and Lynne Pemberton.


WE COULD NOT DO THIS WORK WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT.

PLEASE CONSIDER A TAX DEDUCTIBLE GIFT BEFORE JUNE 30th : 
WE APPRECIATE YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH US .
To GIVE....Go to:  Yotkom TAX DEDUCTIBLE Donation Website

or post to Healthserve Australia .
PO Box 3032
Erina
NSW 2250
please state  the donation is for Yotkom Project
Receipts will be forwarded to you



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Strong Leadership

 
Dr Charles travelled on buses for about 18 hours across the country to be part of our Yotkom Uganda Directors meeting here in Kitgum.  He is staying 24 hours then hopping back on the bus to return to Mbarara where he is doing post graduate study in Internal Medicine.  His studies are being partly sponsored by Yotkom and a Government scholarship he won. His new skills will be of great use in the Kitgum community.
We had a lot of things to discuss at our meeting and there was a real spirit of unity and excitement for the future. We can see real growth occurring and so many answers to prayers  . We know we have challenges but we are determined to do our part to build strong foundations and be effective in all areas of health outreach and to be fully transparent and accountable so donors can know that the funds they give are going  directly to the areas of need.
Yotkom has a residential plot in a quite part of Kitgum, purchased in 2003
We have our title deed in hand now, securing the land
 
Estimated cost to build $30,000AUS
 
We would like to build a small duplex with two x 2bedroom units on this site, suitable for long term rental and short term guest house use. This structure would provide income for the project and save us paying for accommodation when short term teams arrive.
Meanwhile our main focus is on commercial land  on the main road in from Gulu which we purchased six months ago . We have plans drawn up to build a Primary Health Care Clinic on this site with Reception area, three consulting rooms, emergency room, small operating  theatre, overnight stay ward, Pharmacy, Xray, Ultrasound and Pathology services.
commercial land for Clinic
 
We are still awaiting approval from authorities to visit the Nodding Syndrome community we have targeted for an outreach project. We hope to go on Tuesday but appreciate your prayers on this matter.
 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Medical Matters

The focus of the Yotkom project is to assist in delivering better quality health services and improving access of the community of Northern Uganda to this care.
The Bregma Clinic we are assisting sees many cases of broken bones or Orthopaedics. This can be due to events such as children climbing trees, pedestrians being hit by bikes, motorcycles , cars, trucks or buses ! The roads are quite dangerous.
Yesterday while I was in the clinic we had several patients attend with fractures, ranging from a fractured jaw as a result of a punch, to broken arms in children and a frail elderly gent with a broken hip from a fall. The clinic is able to Xray and apply plasters  and splints to most fractures. Those which are displaced from their normal position can be reduced into alignment by the doctors while the patient is given a light anaesthetic through IV.  Dr Vincent particularly enjoys providing this sort of care.
Having diagnostic equipment such as an XRay machine and Ultrasound on site can make such a difference to the accuracy of diagnosis and level of care which can be provided.
The staff here are really missing their ultrasound machine which requires repair but will cost about $1000 and currently this is not in the budget. Consequently the centre is operating below its capacity.
Fractured Hip
Young boy has light anaesthetic while fractured elbow is put back in place
Over at St Josephs Hospital, there is a need to improve the Ambulance service and do more inservice training of the staff involved in delivering emergency care . Andrew met with the Medical Superintendent and other hospital staff, including Augustine, one of the Ambulance drivers to look at ways we can have input. We are hoping to be able to have Pat Holdsworth, an experienced   Paramedic from Brisbane spend time here in October and assist with this area of need. We are requesting donor funds  or donated equipment be sent in the container this year to assist with fitting out the ambulance which is currently bare . The outpatient department may also benefit from setting aside  a designated area for managing emergency cases and stabilising them.
St Josephs Ambulance
interior of Ambulance
St Josephs Hospital OPD/Emergency Dept
with Dr Pamela, Medical Superintendent and Obstetrician
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reflections from Neil Shuker after a week in Kitgum

WOW! Exhausting, exhilarating and excellent are just a few words to describe my experience with the Bregma Medical Centre staff and Yotkom staff here in Kitgum. After flying into Pader courtesy of our MAF flight, Dr Vincent's brother Leo brought us across to the Italian Aid Agency AVSI accommodation where we have been for a week.  Our cook, Margaret, has kept us nourished for the activities and visits we have made during my week here. Andrew and I have visited many places and people that Andrew have been in our prayers since 2001 when Andrew first set out with a team from Gateway Baptist.

Highlights for me have included:
* encouraging staff and gaining commitment to have a morning devotional and prayer time before 9am and seeing some real prayer warriors (esp Ann and Peter) step up to lead in the 3 days since we started last Friday.
* enjoying the professional development for 30 outstanding Bregma and Yotkom staff over 5 days
   (including a team development day last Saturday at Bomah Hotel),
*riding a motor bike out to IGF and being escorted by young American Assistant Director Trent through their vocational training areas (business, welding, construction, tailoring, carpentry, mechanical), their P1-P7 school, their Community Church, their medical facilities and seeing many of the staff including CEO Jean-Paul who was Irene's right-hand man..
* catching up with some of the sponsored children, parents and staff inc Aaya Sarafin and son Joseph sponsored by Rowena and Richard and Peter and their families.
* visiting Pastor David Livingstone, hearing of his work in Okidi and his efforts raising the profile of Northern Ugandan issues globally and then touring his radio station Peace FM
* visiting ex-nun Tedi's impressive NUCBACD School and Care Centre for Disabled children,
* visiting the site and sharing in the dreams and visions of Construction Engineer Andrew M with his Early Childhood Centre on approx a half hectare
* visiting St Joseph's Hospital and being part of Palm Sunday celebrations at St Joseph and then at IGF Community Church
* investigating and understanding the impact of Nodding Syndrome and other neurological disorders on the physical, psychosocial and financial welfare of families in isolated communities outside Kitgum (courtesy of people like medical anthropologist Karin from Holland, David Livingstone and Tedi from NUCBACD)
* visiting Andrew's residential land and Yotkom's commercial sites for the future medical centre
* spending time reviewing broken jaws, broken arms, etc with Radiogapher Bosco,
* doing hospital rounds with Dr Andrew, Clinical Officer Peter and nurses Ann and Jackie
* looking at various stages and severity of malaria parasites through a microscope with Lab Technician Godfrey
* and, of course, travelling and having a Tusker (just one!) with my great friend Andrew

Andrew stays on for another week to bring together as many of the Yotkom plans as is possible while he is here. Hopefully, with your prayers, he can recover quickly from the stomach bug that has plagued him since last night.  One thing is very clear, so much more can be achieved in a short time when you are on the ground in Kitgum as there are so many competing demands on the lives of those who live and work here - and not just with Primary Health Care. Your prayers and support are most necessary to first prioritise the Primary Health Care needs, to pray for them, to be called to action and then to ameliorate the needs. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

We need PHYSIOTHERAPY SERVICES

Kitgum Town with a population of 60,000 has no Physiotherapist.
There is a huge gap in the provision of these services to the community.
The most needy are children and adults with disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Stroke, Deafness and Visual impairment. Children with Nodding Syndrome would also benefit from these physical interventions.
Yotkom has been exploring ways that we can support current disability services here and include a component of outreach to the Nodding Syndrome communities.
We would like to seek out donor funding to support an outreach program to a village community focusing on the delivery of interventions for children with disabilities, including but not limited to Nodding Syndrome.
Today we visited a wonderful project in Kitgum town which is struggling to continue. It has been established by Teddy, a former Ugandan Nun. It is called :
Northern Ugandan Community Based Action for Children with Disabilities. (NUCBACD)


Here, children with deafness, visual impairment, Epilepsy and other Neurological disorders, attend for special schooling and supplemental nutrition. Vocational Training is also included. Children make jumpers for local schools with the assistance of a taylor. This, along with a small farm, provides some income. 

Recently, The Mater Hospital, Brisbane  was instrumental in raising funds for a Physiotherapy Building which is now complete.
But, there is no Physiotherapist.




Perhaps someone from Australia could come for a short term and help train some local volunteers in basic interventions. Then it may be possible to arrange sponsorship for one of the most gifted volunteers to undertake a 2 year course in Physio here in Uganda, bonded to return to the community.
This person could also work from Bregma Clinic part time and possibly be involved in a rural outreach, along  with our clinical officer and a counsellor , focusing on a village with high incidence of Nodding Syndrome. It may be possible to also establish a day care centre to help relieve Nodding Syndrome families in this specific village.
There are trained special needs teachers in this school who at risk of losing their jobs because of lack of donor aid. The facility has some great facilities and is so well maintained.It would be great if we can do more to help make this service sustainable and at the same time do more for outreach. Please pray about this .We are brainstorming ideas here!

This morning Andrew enjoyed going on grand rounds, seeing all the patients staying in Bregma Clinic with the Clinical Officer and Nurses. Great opportunity to do some teaching and training, seeking to improving the excellence of health delivery in this place.


In the afternoon, Neil had another 7 of the Bregma and Yotkom team members join him for a mini training seminar. They had missed the day at Boma Hotel on Saturday and appreciated catching up on all the information.

 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Full day Team Building Seminar went beyond our expectations

 
We had an amazing day together as a team of combined Yotkom and Bregma Clinic health workers. Neil Shuker led us through some very worthwhile sessions where we discovered more about our personalities and strengths and gained more understanding of each other. There was a lot of sharing by all the participants and a genuine spirit of hunger for personal growth and an improved work environment where the values of compassion, honesty, respect and excellence in service would define us.
There were 20 participants which was a significant turnout given it was a Saturday and some of the Bregma nursing and medical staff had to remain in  the clinic seeing patients.
Our new Chaplain, Walter spent the whole day with us and shared some inspirational words which really complemented the theme running through Neil's presentations. It has been very encouraging!
Neil shares about values and shapes
 
Andrew Kilama and Vincent participate in session
 

Pastor Walter shares some inspirational words
 
We shared  a great Acholi smorgasbord lunch



 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy on the agenda again


Today we have been able to have a meeting with Walter and he has made a renewed commitment to start work half time with the Yotkom and Bregma medical teams. It had been planned for him to start work in January this year,  however, his previous full time work as a counsellor with Food for the Hungry was  extended for an extra  three months . His position there will end this month.
This means he will be able to commence with YOTKOM  at the beginning of May and will come to the clinic three mornings a week . Walter will also be participating in our team building day tomorrow (Saturday ) and this will be a great opportunity for him to build relationships with our team. We believe the position of pastor/chaplain/counsellor  is a vital one  .

Neil is busy preparing material tonight for our seminar tomorrow. He is finding the old style paper, tape and pencil  rather time consuming ways of preparing a presentation !  (no IT facilities at the hotel unfortunately )
We are sure that many issues will be raised tomorrow and that the process will be very worthwhile in strengthening the project.