|A new year has
arrived and the work of Africare continues with fresh
determination. Those of us with responsibility for Africare are
not medical, and started work with disabled children in Uganda
without any relevant experience, but we had seen the need and
wanted to respond. I believe all the work of Cherub, and
now of Acheru, shows we were right to follow that course.
Blessing resulted, and many lives have been transformed.
However, any perception of success shouldnt
make us complacent, there is always room for improvement.
From time to time we have valued the observations of medical
professionals, and have on several occasions had someone conduct
a full evaluation of the work. We also had an encouraging
endorsement from a visiting professor at Uganda Christian
University who told us that Acheru was the nearest he had seen
to an expression of Christs love on earth.
of our Board members spent several weeks at Acheru meeting with
the staff and looking at all aspects of the work. Arising
from this, weve been working with Acheru to address some
issues, particularly relating to management. This has been
a useful process, as although we have handed over responsibility
for running Acheru to the local staff and Board, we must be able
to reassure donors about how their money is spent, and that the
aims of the work continue to be met.
with management and other matters, we felt it was time for a
full medical evaluation of the work; this was discussed at
length with Acheru so that everyone understood the purpose of
this was not to spy on people, but to work with them to find
ways to maintain high standards of care, ensure we were reaching
the children who need us, and identify areas where improvements
can be made or help is needed.
tasked with this evaluation was Una Brownlie who, with her late
husband Donald, served for many years in Malawi, as well as
working in Uganda at Mengo and Kiwoko hospitals. Her
sister Phyllis, a GP, agreed to accompany her. The
criteria for the evaluation were agreed with the Acheru staff,
and they reported to the Acheru Board.
|Over all they
found that the work at Acheru was continuing to thrive and they
were impressed by the commitment of staff and the quality of
care given. Of course they encountered some challenges. As the
work has expanded there is a need to create a wider management
base to spread the workload more fairly. As a result a new
management structure was suggested to the Acheru Board and they
have been responsive to this.
|The Board were
encouraged by the report and will endeavour to work with Acheru
staff to deal with any issues raised. Africare will also support
the staff at Acheru in order to assist with their continued
|Work in the
north of Uganda at the centre in Minakulu is also continuing to
grow. The staff there are still highly committed and
enthusiastic about the work despite the somewhat primitive
working and living conditions they experience. For example they
have no water supply, power or easy access to means of
communication. The staff there consists of an orthopaedic
clinical officer, a physiotherapist and a part time CBR worker.
They have an excellent working relationship and work very
closely as a unit as they utilise each others skills to
managed to develop very strong links with the local village
health team who work alongside the Minakulu CBR worker to
sensitise the surrounding villages to the work carried out at
the centre. This has also assisted greatly with locating
children in considerable need who have not been able to travel
to the centre for help. They continue to hold outreach clinics
twice weekly to meet the need in the area and links with the
union of disability in Gulu has proved helpful.
|Brian and Hazel
have been enjoying a well deserved break in South Africa and
they shall return at the end of March. If you need to contact
them while they are away, you can do so via the Africare email
|We would also
like to take this opportunity once again to thank you for your
continued support of Africare. We do not simply mean
financially, but also for your prayerful support. We have been
undoubtedly blessed by the growth and expansion of the work both
at Acheru and Minakulu and the dedication of the staff at both
centres. The vast number of children who are having their lives
transformed is truly remarkable.