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March 2013 Report - Work starting in northern Uganda and volunteers offering to help at Acheru
Hazel and I spent long enough in Uganda and South Africa to get used to the heat, so it’s been a shock to come back to what we’re experiencing now. We’re trying to catch up with everything.
We have revised the Acheru budgets and provided money for some building work and repairs to be completed, all with the aim of having Acheru filled with patients. We are paying hospital costs separately, to remove a variable and hopefully make budgeting easier. This is stretching us, but we want to see everything fully used. We need to be careful not to overreach but we are thinking about the need for another staff member, and also more representation on the management committee, bearing in mind the loss of Paul and Apollo.
Sam has been to the north again to look at arrangements for our work there. We had a disappointment with the loss of some of the facilities we had hoped for, but are going ahead with recruitment of staff and setting up of an outpatient unit. Sam has been meeting with district leaders and community groups, all of whom reinforced the need for Acheru’s services there. We want to work as closely as possible with any groups represented there. We can take referrals from them, and there may be medical services which we can make use of. Sam met with some visiting Northern Ireland doctors and we hope it will be possible to work with their organisations in future. He also met an Italian surgeon working at a hospital in the area, and he has offered to help with surgery for osteomyelitis patients who need a single operation. This would be very helpful, as otherwise surgical patients need to be referred to Acheru.
The communities Sam visited are all very keen to work with us, and the expectation is that we will be brought lots of children in need of help. What we can provide through Acheru can change their lives.
Work is under way at Minakulu renovating a building and finding staff accommodation so it shouldn’t be long until we’re fully established there.
Another encouragement has been the volunteers who have offered to help at Acheru for varying periods of time. This extends the services we can provide, eases the burden on our own staff, and can also save money. We’re grateful for these offers of help, and hope all visitors will benefit from their time and find it enriching.
Update: Baluka Zaitini, the girl with the neglected leg injury I mentioned in the last circular, has now had surgery and is recovering well at Acheru.
Brian Dorman

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