January 2012 Report - A busy start to 2012 at Acheru and plans to get more development work under way
It’s been a busy month. I’ve been trying to catch up with work after my spell in hospital – a slow process as I’m not 100% fit yet. We are no longer sending containers, but have still been handling some medical equipment, either setting it aside for our own work, or passing it on to partner organisations. It’s a way of using our contacts and experience without the demands of trying to do everything ourselves. In January, we arranged a good consignment for CBM in England, including image intensifiers, an X ray machine and a scanner. CBM have links to projects worldwide so should be able to put it to good use. Through other groups we also passed on equipment for Somalia, and quantities of dressings for Libya and Syria. In our workshop in Carrick, I can now take time to carefully prepare specialised items for Acheru or for Kiwoko Hospital; these can be sent by air freight if they are needed urgently, or can wait till someone else is sending a container.
We have been very encouraged by the support we have received for Acheru, and are now able to go ahead with further development. A number of people have been raising support or organising fund raising activities on our behalf for specific Acheru projects, and I hope to have more news of this in the next circular. We hope to get work under way very soon on a staff house, a hostel, another underground water tank, and more pipework and tanks for water distribution. The hostel is now badly needed as demand for Acheru services increases; it is intended to accommodate patients and relatives, and should enable us to take ten more inpatients.
The big demand is in the north. The Acheru team goes there every two months for clinics at Gulu and Amuru but can only bring back a few children each time as their treatment and rehab can take so long. The waiting list of children needing surgery has been growing, and on the last visit stood at 46. To try to deal with this they brought back 9 children who required plastic surgery, such as cleft lip and palate, as these can be ‘turned round’ in four or five weeks, whereas orthopaedic cases usually take much longer. Instead of waiting for the next clinic run, the aim is to take these children back as soon as possible and bring in more in an attempt to reduce the waiting list.
It’s been a good start to the year for Acheru, but we mustn’t forget the extra demands placed on the staff as they try to treat more children.
Brian Dorman

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