KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
#8days8camps and I assured Ronald I was ready for the task before me. The Bridge to Health team always holds Medical Camps in liaison with Kigezi Healthcare Foundation, once every year and to be accurate every February for the past three years. As a volunteer, I was eager to find out what really seemed a busy period for all these Medical Personnel and staff of KIHEFO.
These Canadian Doctors, led by their team leader Dr. Bill Cherniak, landed at Kigali Airport on the 1st January, 2015 and they were picked up by the KIHEFO delegation and then led to Kabale. At first I thought I would see like two or three doctors at the maximum but I guess I was wrong. One, two, three and so on, they continued to embark off the Vehicles and that’s when I realized it was really quite a big contingent. Most of these doctors are Qualified Dentists, Pharmacists and Medical Doctors among others.
Very few people in Uganda, like many developing countries have limited access to medical care because of many reasons like poverty, accessibility and ignorance or impact of African Tradition towards Science. These medial Camps are aimed to reach rural communities to the grass root level and tackling disease from a local level. Free medication is provided for those who cannot access it or have it. It may seem a joke but this drive takes a lot of effort and commitment, finance and resource mobilization to make these Medical Camps a success. It involves people crossing seas, leaving their families and occupation behind to come and participate in these Camps.
This year 2015, there were 8 Clinics chosen from the different areas of Kabale and the Sub-Kigezi Region. They were as follows; Kyanamira, Kigata, Kitumba, Bukinda, Buzooba, Trinity High School, Bubaare and lastly Karengyere. Teams had to travel to these places some of which were as far as 60Km from Kabale town. One thing I admired from the team was the cooperation and commitment.
During the camps, I saw what looked like a myth to me and that’s when I knew how vital these camps were to these people. Over 5000 people were worked on during these 8 days and this is quite a large number covered. There were very many serious cases in most camps and all were worked on. During one of my consultations with Doctor Anguyo, I remember him
saying, “Everytime I see people perishing because of disease, I feel robbed of my soul. There are many people down there deep in the villages who do not even know what a health centre is and have never received good medical care other than the traditional herbal medicine from the local herbalists been because they are robbed of that opportunity. I will dedicate my life to fighting disease, ignorance and poverty using all resources and opportunities available..” The few years of his travel, he has met many friends and organisations that have come to appreciate his tremendous work and dedication to community, thus the partnerships with many organisations like Bridge to Health, Child Health Family International, GlobeMed, Kindness in Action ,Change for Children among others.
It seemed like 8 days of medical camps but to me it’s like an unforgettable life experience. Seeing these people working tirelessly really inspired me. It is really true as we could move for as far as 40 kilometers without tracing anything like good health centers in the vicinity. These clinics were really diverse and had the Dental section, Pharmacy, Eye Department, HIV/AIDs Section, ultrasound Scan for pregnant women and the general Clinic or Assessment area. People were screened for diabetes ,high blood pressure, and many other complicated diseases. Every day we let the field, I would notice a change on the faces of the Rural communities in the Areas where these clinics were setup. Many of these camps being held in primary schools, all pupils got a chance to be de-wormed and all staff offered free medical checkups.
If we had more committed men with generous hearts like Dr. Anguyo Geoffrey, society would be a better place to be in because of that harmony created within society. Awareness and adult education in most cases is vital for the positive response to medical care. A large population of the people is uneducated and if not motivated into accepting medical checkups, they seem reluctant. I would like to commend the tiring and unending work by the KIHEFO staff and Bridge to Health. The core team during these community outreach camps is formed by KIHEFO with a number of volunteers from different health units and Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Thanks for the support and commitment and hope to see you next year doing the same and giving hope to society even where there seems no solution. Let the rest of the world see how foreign partners together with the local partners can bring a smile to the rural communities with limited access to good medical care. My appeal to the rest of the world is to see more volunteers from different countries to come up and join this initiative. KIHEFO is open to any volunteer group that is interested in changing lives and giving smiles to the rural communities. Most of the clinics are organized by the KIHEFO team throughout the year with logistical support from volunteers. People who are not able to travel to participate in these community outreach camps can give financial and other logistical support to KIHEFO.
VOLUNTEER AT KIHEFO