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Circular - December 2018, Arranging treatment for former patients, and our relationship with CoRSU
Most days now I am in the office dealing with what could loosely be described as administration. Most of my efforts are directed to Acheru, working with the management there to keep it running smoothly and prepare for the future, and working with donors here to ensure there's the necessary support to make it all happen. We also still have a limited involvement in other areas of work and I'm always interested to hear of progress. As you know, some years ago I handed over responsibility for our medical equipment work to two friends running 'MediAid4Kids', and they continue that work in the warehouse behind my office, with consignments going out to various countries. In the last two weeks I've seen large quantities of medical equipment loaded into containers for Somaliland, Thailand, and Malawi. It's a busy store with a lot coming and going, and continues to give me access to anything I might need for Uganda, and I try to help out when I can.
I spend a lot of time dealing with reports from Acheru, and trying to help where possible. I don't want to interfere or 'micro manage' from a distance, the management team there are coping well against various constraints to ensure not only that the work goes on but that standards are maintained and where possible, improvements are sought. We continue to provide almost all the funding for Acheru, so a good relationship and effective communication are vital. It will be the 10th anniversary of moving away from Cherub to start Acheru on 3rd March 2019 and this will be an opportunity to focus attention on the work, where we have come from, what has been done so far, and what we need to do next, above all giving thanks for all the blessings we've seen, specially at times when we couldn't see a way forward. I'll have more news of this in the coming months. Celebrations are planned, and former patients and relatives will attend. It's an opportunity to see how the children have progressed, but also to see the difference it has made to people of very different backgrounds who spend time staying in a unit with a strong Christian ethos and to experience in some way a manifestation of the love of Christ.
Acheru isn't working in isolation in Uganda, and a key relationship is with CoRSU, our partner hospital who take our surgical referrals. We've just had to deal with a challenging case involving a girl called Fiona. She was a very sick girl when we dealt with the aftermath of her life changing injuries several years ago, when she had to spend three years in Acheru.

Fiona at Acheru in 2013
She went on to do well but problems arose recently and she was brought back to Acheru. She needs further surgery but she is over 18 now so the full cost must be paid for any CoRSU operation. Usually surgery is free, with Acheru paying towards other costs such as x rays, subsistence, medication etc. Like CoRSU, Acheru has an age limit of 18, but it's hard to be too rigid about this when it's a former patient who needs help.

Fiona on her return to Acheru Oct 2018
Acheru couldn't meet the cost from their own budget so asked us for additional help. While we could have paid this (around 400 pounds) it was a lot for one patient and I didn't want to establish a precedent. Acheru has treated thousands of children and we couldn't cope if they kept coming back as adults. I explained all this to Joyce and she arranged to meet with the CoRSU CEO to set out our problem and look at alternatives. Services are developing at other hospitals but it seemed the surgery required by Fiona couldn't be carried out to a satisfactory standard anywhere other than CoRSU.

Fiona at Acheru with Harriet and Aidah, the medical student you read about in the September circular
The CEO recognised our difficulty and saw the need for compromise, so we've come to an arrangement to share the cost of Fiona's operation and will be discussing an agreement as a basis for any similar cases in the future. We're obliged to CoRSU for this flexibility, we both want to do our best for people like Fiona while also recognising that we're both charities with limited resources.
Brian Dorman

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