Kitgum Town

Kitgum Town
Kitgum Town

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finalising Building Plans

WE have been collaborating with local draughtsman and project manager, Andrew Kilama to finalise plans for the Yotkom Medical Centre and also the guesthouse which will be located on  separate land. We have asked three local builders who have a good reputation to provide us with quotations to build.
Currently we have a vision to commence building by February next year in order to beat the wet season. The Gateway church Christmas offerings will be a major boost to our fundraising efforts for the construction. Other gifts toward this task are warmly welcomed and are tax deductible.

Andrew is planning to return to Kitgum in early 2015 and stay on site for at least 2 months with his wife Anne . He will be  working alongside the Yotkom medical team and also monitoring the building process.  Other engineering and project management professionals from Australia are also considering assisting us.

working on building plans
marking out site of guesthouse
planting trees on guesthouse site
PAt and Maree plant Pawpaw
Andrew Kilama and family
outside church on Sunday

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Training and Networking in Gulu

Our female team members are feeling very happy after eating some of Andrews chocolate stash and trying on their newly made African dresses.
They have been working today to set up a sewing corner in our Yotkom Drug Shop. We have purchased a treadle sewing machine and plan to find ways of sewing and distributing the Days for Girls kits to the Kitgum community.
Days for Girls
The reception from the schools we have visited has been great and our Clinic nurses, Winnie and Florence along with Concy our chaplain have been very animated and engaged in their presentations.
These presentations in schools are a wonderful opportunity to deliver highly effective sexual health and safety messages to the young women of Uganda. It is a very important way of preventing transmission of HIV AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as protecting vulnerable girls from sexual assault and exploitation. Our Yotkom health team  hope to do many more in the district with assistance of funds from Australia

We spent some time today brainstorming ideas to fine tune the plans for the Yotkom Medical Clinic. Our architect and project manager, Andrew Kilama has been applying himself to the task.
 Andrew Wright will be seeking out quotations from builders here  to construct the clinic in 2015.

Earlier in the week Pat and Andrew travelled to Gulu, where we partnered with Prime International to assist in the delivery of a Whole Person Medicine training course to 40 second year Clinical Officer trainees. It went very well and I was impressed by the calibre of the students and their interaction . Much of the teaching was on consulting skills and managing mental health disorders. Three doctors from the UK  worked with us and two of our clinical officers from Kitgum, Richard and Peter , also participated and received certificates.

While in Gulu we were able to make valuable connections with the Hope for Humans Organisation which is working with children with Nodding Syndrome in that district .
Hope for Humans
 Their director, Caesar is coming to Kitgum next week and we will talk about ways we can work together to address the significant problem of Nodding Syndrome amongst children in our  community.

We also took a 6km Boda ride to the Lacor Hospital, a 500 bed facility established by the Catholic Church in 1959. The Medical Superintendent was very welcoming and gave us a guided tour. It was helpful for our clinical officers from Kitgum, 100km away to meet specialists they may need to refer difficult patients to.  The Med Superintendent  shared with us the challenges of running such a major facility. Only  20 % of all running costs come from patient fees , 10% from Government assistance and the remaining 70% is sourced from donors. How difficult it is for these much needed health care facilities to survive in communities where there is so much poverty , unemployment and major disease burdens.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Emergency Medicine Training Day

It was encouraging to see the interest shown by the medical staff from Bregma  Medical Clinic , St Joseph's Hospital  and other local clinics at the training day. Most of the staff have never see a resuscitation manikin or tried to resuscitate a patient, this showed in their active involvement in practicing their new skills in CPR. The few who had been trained were pleased at learning the current practice for CPR. 

 After lunch Dr Moses helped in the training adding his valuable experience in shock management and fluid replacement. At the end of the day all were happy to receive a certificate of attendance with good feedback from the students interested in continuing training in the future.

Paramedic with Yotkom Uganda Team

Friday, October 10, 2014

A few thoughts on my introduction to Kitgum

Visiting Kitgum has been a great experience. We have enjoyed a warm welcome from many people. I have been impressed by how fertile the land is and yet distressed to hear stories about how the impact of the civil war over many years has damaged infrastructure and ravaged social systems.

Yotkom is one organisation that is helping to rebuild this shattered community by building health infrastructure and caring for the needs of the whole person. We have been introduced to a wonderful team of people who are obviously passionate about the way in which they serve their community. There is a bright future ahead if this team retains its commitment to each other and servant attitude they readily display. There is a great expectation that the new facility would increase their capacity to serve their community.

Yesterday was a Ugandan public holiday and we were invited to visit the homes of some key staff in the medical clinic. There is nothing like being in someone's house and meeting family members to help build relationships and understanding. I reflected that back home in Australia there are some friends where I have never been invited to their house. These houses are nothing like ours but conversations, soft drink, photos and many smiling children helped to made us a feel right at home with our new friends.

In the evening we also enjoyed a meal with Lois from Tender Trust at her home. Living with 90+ children under the one roof is daunting, however we experienced great joy among the children as they played football, and later sang songs around the fire. We were also treated to a wonderful display in the African sky as the sun set as an electrical storm passed by. God took centre stage in both  the scenery and in the expressions in voices and prayers of the children.

This morning we heard the news that Dr Vincent's health had taken a turn for the worse. He is highly respected leader in the community and the organisation and so there has been considerable concern about his wellbeing. Please pray for him and his quick recovery.

It's also been interesting to observe Andrew in this environment. As we approached Kitgum he was bubbling like a child at returning to the community. He fits right in and obviously has a deep love for his friends in this place. He is equally respected and loved by them. His enthusiasm for the people and the potential opportunities is captivating. I just love the way that God reaches into individuals lives and call them to particular people and places. I reckon he is God's man for this time and place.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recording life in Kitgum

We are getting to know  Concy, our pastoral care chaplain.
On Wednesday, the women in our team will be travelling to a rural village called Mucwini where they will present the Days for Girls program to the local school.  Nurses working with Yotkom, Florence and Winne,  will also be with them.
Pat, our Paramedic has been assessing the triage facilities at Bregma clinic and St Josephs Hospital with a view to identifying ways we can help improve capacity. We have also received an enthusiastic response from the nursing and medical staff working in Kitgum to attend our all day workshop on resuscitation and emergency medicine this Saturday.
Nick, our cinematographer, has been working hard in the heat, recording daily life at bregma medical clinic and hearing stories from the local community and staff who work in the medical centre.


Kitgum Day 1

Sorry for delayed post We arrived safely in Kitgum after 12 hours  Long slow drive over potholed road A little scary after dark with on coming buses who don't yield to on coming traffic Accommodation is located behind St Joseph's church surrounded by greenery Quiet until the church bell calls worshippers to daily mass at 6:30am Team are all well just a little tired Today we visited in Bregma clinic to meet and engage with the staff Nick has been busy filming all aspects of their work
About to head to Hospital to meet Dr Pamela Thanks for all you prayer cover

Monday, June 9, 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. We will be working with other health focussed organisations working in the community including DAYS FOR GIRLS,  PRIME INTERNATIONAL ,  and              ST JOSEPHS HOSPITAL .  See web links at the bottom of the blog page for more information on these projects.
Our Team members include Pat and Maree Holdsworth and Lynne Pemberton. (below with Andrew)

Other team members from Gateway Baptist Church in Brisbane will also be travelling with us.
Rhys Tregenza,  Nick Paton and Ainsley Winton :





To GIVE....Go to:  Yotkom TAX DEDUCTIBLE Donation Website

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