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April 2016 - Reports from staff at Minakulu in northern Uganda
Hazel and I are now back home after spending three months in South Africa - and I think keeping much warmer than most of you. While there we kept in close contact with Acheru and I was able to continue promotion of the work. Through the church we attend in the Western Cape, we were able to make contact with a number of missionaries working with children and share our experiences. Some of the work we saw there had close similarities to the earlier work of Africare and we now hope to develop our links with them as they grow. We can learn a lot from working closely with other organisations who share our aims.
With these website updates we usually include details from case histories of Acheru patients, but I have also asked for more information on the staff to help us understand the challenges they face. They are used to talking about the children but not so good at talking about themselves so it is sometimes an effort to get more details, but several of the staff in the north have now told us a little more.
Okware Oscar writes:
"I work as an orthopaedic officer at Acheru's centre at Minakulu in Oyam district, northern Uganda.
My work is in an outpatient department setting where I see patients who come to the centre, and then go back to their homes. I assess the patients and determine who we can treat at the centre. Those who need surgical intervention are usually referred to the main Acheru unit at Kabembe, for surgery at CoRSU. Others may be referred to local hospitals where they may get services.
Seeing disabled children transformed has really pleased us and I am getting an everlasting bond both with the parents and the children. I see children previously associated with evil spirits known as "JOK" in this part of Uganda getting back acceptance and dignity in society.
This transformation is possible because of the great team work we have built up over time, from surgery through the intensive rehabilitation and follow up in the villages.
This work is sometimes hampered by the long distances the parents have got to travel to access the centre. For example places like Otwal which is about 45km away from the unit. Some parents have to move on foot or bicycles. This sometimes makes them give up on the treatment plan without knowing the health risks associated with the disabilities.
We have tried to answer the challenges of distance by having periodic outreaches to these places, where we sensitise them on the risks associated with the various disabilities and also do some follow up on previously worked on children.
May I also send my thanks to all those who have sacrificed what they have to donate so as to transform the lives of the little ones.
Thank you all may God bless you abundantly."
Ochan Nicholas writes:
"I am a physiotherapist, 31 years of age, working with Acheru's Minakulu unit in the northern part of the country, in Oyam district, dealing with the disabled children and children with conditions that may lead to disabilities.
My work is to assess, diagnose, treat, give psychosocial support to patients and refer some of them for further treatment to the main Acheru unit and CoRSU for surgery, or guide them where they can get treatment for those conditions that do not fall in our area of operations. I also do follow up of patients and outreaches. I thank the Acheru management for the good working conditions rendered to the northern unit.
The most common conditions in the north are cerebral palsy, osteomyelitis, and those with post injection paralysis.
My happiest moment is seeing disabled children regain activities of daily living due to the tireless teamwork rendered by Acheru staff, CoRSU staff and stakeholders. I was also happy to see some children I handled with cerebral palsy gain activities of daily living; this condition can take a long time for change to be seen.
Challenges include the failure of some patients to report on the review date which has hindered the proper treatment and delayed recovery, due to weather conditions, long distances to travel, and financial problems.
I like researching on new conditions and their management, and this has been made easier with the help of the laptop given to us by Acheru.
I would like to thank all who have supported us in the fight against disabilities among children. May the almighty Lord reward you all."

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