August 2018 report - Review of work in northern Uganda
Many children coming to Acheru have very serious conditions which will become life threatening if left untreated while others, such as the following two recent examples, are more straightforward for our staff to deal with although their treatment can still be life changing through easing their pain or restoring mobility. Think of such cases in the context of Acheru's Christian witness and outreach, there is a very evident manifestation of love and concern which can be so much more effective than mere words.
Atim Walter is 17 years old, from Obanga-Oloko in Oyam district. He developed swelling of his right foot, with a bad smell and discharge. He was treated at a local health centre with no improvement and his parents were then advised to bring him to the Acheru unit at Minakulu where he was diagnosed with chronic osteomyelitis in his ankle joint and referred for surgery. His condition caused him significant pain and suffering, interrupted his education, and was worsening. Following surgery, he received medication, nursing care, physiotherapy, and psychosocial support. He has now made a good recovery and returned to school. What probably started as a very minor injury which could have been easily dealt with was neglected with potentially very serious consequences.

Atim Walter
Akidi Doreen is three years old, from Amwa in Oyam district in northern Uganda. She was unable to sit, mouth hanging open, mobility problems, and was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. Her parents were directed to Acheru, where they were counselled and had the child's condition explained. There was then intervention with physical support and therapeutic exercises, with great improvement seen. Her parents were so impressed that they've been responsible for other disabled children being brought to Acheru.

Akidi Doreen
Not all children can be completely cured or go on to full recovery, but rarely is a child seen who can't benefit significantly from Acheru treatment and Doreen is now a very different child, able to walk and run, giving encouragement to her parents who previously thought she couldn't be helped.
I am in correspondence with the Acheru board about various aspects of the work. We need to keep it all under review, trying to ensure we're doing what we're best at without duplicating the efforts of others. It's still a concern that even though our work is now so widely known we continue to encounter so many children who have been kept from treatment through neglect, witchcraft, or simply bad advice. We also constantly look at cost effectiveness. This doesn't just mean trying to save money, but ensuring that within the constraints of staffing and budget, as many children as possible are treated. Part of the outcome of a recent review of the work is some change to Acheru in the north with a reduction in staff based there reflecting the work done by other health centres, while still trying to ensure that children can be referred for surgery. I'll have more details of this in the next circular. Such reviews inevitably highlight any problems, and we try to address these, but it also gave me the confidence to tell the board there how encouraged I am by their efforts, and the reputation established by Acheru.

New transport for the community work
Brian Dorman

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