KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
We were delighted to welcome 27 volunteers from Canadian medical organisation To The World yesterday. To the World are old friends; they have been coming here for a few years. They are joining us for two weeks of health outreach camps.
The volunteers include doctors, medical students, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and a consultant. They worked with KIHEFO’s own volunteer clinicians. The camps take the group out to rural communities in south west Uganda, where medical services are offered for free to some of the poorest people in the world.
The Canadian volunteers also get useful experience of conditions that are quite unusual in their home country.
The To The World volunteers are led by Dr Bill Cherniak, family medicine resident at the University of Toronto. He said “It’s great to come back to Kabale to visit our good friends at KIHEFO. It’s amazing that we have twice as many volunteers this year and we plan to see thousands of patients over the next two weeks. . We are also running a research project looking at whether offering ultrasound scans will encourage more pregnant women to come for screening.”
The first camp opened earlier today in Hamurwa, and saw hundreds of people see a clinician with their concerns. For some, it will be the first time they have ever had a medical check up. Others were treated for conditions that they have lived with for years.
There is another health center in town, but it is just too expensive for most people. KIHEFO is able to help because it gives its services and medicine are free.
We met James Zerekana who came with his wife, Jolly, to see a doctor about his chest pains. He heard about the outreach at church on Sunday and was very pleased with the service. But he told us that there is a huge unmet need for health services. KIHEFO and To The World are helping, but with so many people who need health services, we can only scratch the service.
KIHEFO has already held three health outreach camps this year, but this was the first with To The World. The two organisations will work together over the next two weeks with seven more camps. It looks set to be an exhausting but productive two weeks.