KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
Last week, KIHEFO and Canadian-based organization, TO – the WORLD, wrapped up two-weeks of dental and medical health outreach camps in rural Kigezi and Kabale town-centre. The following testimony was written by Bill Cherniak, one of TO – the WORLD’s organizers, to reflect on the results and outcomes of the clinics.
March 19, 2013. KIHEFO is quiet now.
Dr. Anguyo has gone back to work at the clinic, the rains are coming in, and the temperature is dropping.
You would never know that less than one week ago a team of 14 doctors, dentists, dental hygienists and logisticians were living here. After nearly eight months of preparatory work the team had come to dispense life saving medications and provide dental care to nearly 2,000 patients.
But more than that, we enacted change in much more powerful, and significantly less obvious ways. We provided jobs for orphans who worked to construct the benches and tables that supported our patients. We provided education to nearly 80 nursing students who conducted fieldwork from their school and assisted as translators. We delivered multivitamins, de-worming medicines, toothbrushes and toothpaste to 820 orphaned children at a local primary school. We poured resources into the local community by purchasing food, beverages, souvenirs and travelling to national parks. We piloted a novel approach to solving one of the World Health Organization’s 2015 Millennium Development goals of eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV.
And even more than that, we began to develop a relationship between Canada and rural Ugandan communities.
There are many people who would say that a two-week health camp is a waste of time. They would say that you couldn’t possibly make a sustainable difference unless you extend your mission to a minimum of 4-6 months. To them I say this:
We worked closely with our trusted Ugandan partners. We developed a relationship that will provide long term care and follow up to the patients we saw. More importantly, without our two-week intervention 2,000 less patients would have had access to healthcare, and would perhaps have never known that it could be possible to treat the diseases afflicting them.
When we leave, KIHEFO will pick up exactly where we left off.
As time progresses we will return to work with KIHEFO, and we will continue to make a lasting impact on the healthcare of the patients in the region. Through one-time medical and dental camps, patient and health care worker education, and infrastructure development we will affect change, and be a part of something bigger.
To read more about TO – the WORLD’s on-the-ground experiences, please visit their blog – click here.
To learn more about how YOU can get involved with KIHEFO today, please visit our website – click here.