Last May I traveled through rural southwestern Uganda and visited the office of Healthy Child Uganda (HCU). HCU is a partnership between Ugandan and Canadian universities with active participation by local communities. HCU supports Ugandans supporting Ugandans with the common goal of improving child health. In rural southwestern Uganda, access to health care and health education is very difficult. Most families live in extreme poverty with 99% of the population living without running water and electricity. Villages are only accessible by dirt roads or walking paths and health centres are often far away and lack sufficiently trained personnel, proper equipment and adequate drugs.
While visiting the HCU office I met with volunteers Teddy Kyinyhangi and Angella Eumuhumbiseis who arranged to take me into the field and visit the Kibare Health Centre II. A health centre II facility, serving a few thousand people, is equipped to treat common diseases like Malaria. In Uganda, one in every five children die before their 5th birthday, and most often from preventable diseases like Malaria, Pneumonia, and Meningitis. Preventative measures like using Insecticide Treated Bednets and having access to clean water can eliminate this risk of disease. When I arrived at the health centre there was a long line of Kibare residents who had walked to the centre seeking treatment.
During my visit I met with HCU Trainer, Dr. Kenneth Kanyima as he treated 32-year old Natukunda and her three children Alex (2 yrs), Antony (3 yrs) and Ninsima (6yrs) who were all showing early signs of Malaria. Natukunda informed Dr. Kanyima that her family had one mosquito net to share amongst them. Dr. Kanyima treated the children with antimalarial drugs.
To find out how you can donate to Healthy Child Uganda, please visit their website’s donation page here: http://www.healthychilduganda.org/to-donate/
HCU partners include the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Mbarara and Bushenyi Health Districts, the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University and the Canadian Pediatric Society.