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April 2012 Report - The new hostel at Acheru is almost ready for occupation and we are now running a second clinic in northern Uganda.
The new patient/relative hostel at Acheru is almost ready for occupation, and we hope will soon be filled with children from northern Uganda, helping reduce our waiting list. The north remains a priority. Every two months, sometimes more often, an Acheru team travels north for our Minakulu clinic, south of Gulu, where our partnership with the local health centre has worked out well, and we know there will be lots of children there for assessment. We have tried working with other groups in the north, and we are now running a second clinic at Awach, 50km north of Gulu. At present that is as much as we can cope with, for staffing and financial reasons.
The Minakulu and Awach clinics were run last week, many children were seen, and 10 of the most urgent cases were selected for surgery. They were to come next day to travel back with the team to Acheru, but only 6 of them turned up. This is a continuing problem. We don’t know the reasons they didn’t come, but we know from previous cases it could have been fear, perhaps never having travelled out of their own area, or a mistrust of us, if they hadn’t yet seen what Acheru is capable of. Possibly older relatives or witch doctors persuaded them not to come, as many still believe a child was meant to be disabled and there shouldn’t be any interference. The result is unnecessary suffering, a deterioration in their condition, and more difficult treatment if we do eventually get them to Acheru.
We are now looking very carefully at how we could do more in the north. When the hostel is ready we can take more inpatients but there may be potential, working with partners, to do more outpatient work in the north. There is a lot we need to think about. We are blessed with generous support, good facilities, and dedicated staff at Acheru, and we want to help as many children as possible.
Brian Dorman

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