Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Health Clinic Groundbreaking: Mission Complete




The morning after an exhilarating 1-0 win by the Uganda Crane soccer team was an early one.  Everyone had to pack up their rooms and haul their suitcases to the professor’s cabin so other guests could stay in our cabins while we were in Jinja.  Shorty after, a delicious breakfast of pancakes, syrup, fruit and coffee was waiting for us in the Red Chilli lobby. Once breakfast wrapped up and the MUBS students all arrived we boarded the bus and headed to the rural village of Kikandwa.  By the time we made it, the location was flooded with cars and people filled with high expectations for the day’s events.  It didn’t take long for tens of smiling, excited children to rush the bus and greet us the moment we pulled up.  We were now on the site where the proposed Kikandwa health clinic is going to be built and where the groundbreaking events of the day would take place.  Once we got a brief description of the blueprints for the clinic from Joseph, a key member of the planning team and livelong friend of Dr. Senteza, we were able to catch the last twenty minutes of the community’s church service.  Following the service was the official groundbreaking ceremony.  During this, many people spoke about the clinic and their visions for it including Dr. Senteza, the president of The Rotary Club of Kampala South and the pastor among others.  The underlying sentiment of their messages was one of excitement and anticipation for the great things are coming with the health clinic.  Once the speakers had finished delivering their messages it was finally time to break ground.  It was so awesome to see the hard work that so many people have already put into this project including all the Drake professors, last year’s students, the Rotary Clubs of Kampala and Des Moines just to mention a few start the building process. To me, it was especially cool when I realized just how many diverse groups of people have come together to turn this project proposal into a health clinic.  Much of the money has come from donors whom will likely never set foot in the clinic and live over 12,000 kilometers away, but have chose to donate to this cause because they saw the need.  After the conclusion of the ceremony we had a traditional African meal consisting of matooke, rice, chicken, beef and potatoes in a nearby school classroom. The afternoon was filled with numerous activities including interacting with the locals, playing games with children, student research, digging out tree stumps and a hand-washing workshop that I actually facilitated with the help of a MUBS student named Ratiibu. The day’s activities began to wind down and we had to say our last goodbyes and thank yous while we reluctantly boarded the bus. The bus will bring us to the nearby city of Jinja where we will spend the next few days at King Fisher resort and around the city.


Questions for consideration:  What do you think the biggest challenge will be for the health clinic both in the building process and also once it is up and running? What part of either rural visit was most enjoyable for you and why? Do you think you could adapt your lifestyle and survive on the farm in the rural village for one year? 

5 comments:

  1. I definitely think staffing will be Kikandwa's largest problem. Given the poor access to education for most rural Ugandans, it is not likely that any locals have the skills or background necessary to staff the clinic. Thus, the clinic will need to offer sufficient incentives to draw educated health care officials from urban areas. That being said, I love interacting with the locals; they have a vibrant spirit and hopefulness that makes me believe in the future of the clinic.

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  2. I agree with Kenzie, but I also think that economic sustainability has the potential to be an issue. I know that the students and faculty who have been working on this project have put in a ton of blood, sweat, and tears in order to raie the funds for the first portion of the project - and that's only the beginning. Heath centers are not simple or cheap to maintain, and although I'm sure those who are working on the project are taking this into account, it will be complicated. I'm definitely excited to see where this clinic goes.

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  3. Following what has been mentioned in the previous comments, the ability for the health clinic to become economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable will require a solid foundation of medical staff and equipment. This will be a challenge considering the nation-wide struggle within the health care and education sectors. Although, I was very hopeful after attending the groundbreaking and seeing the confidence and excitement for the clinic by the locals of Kikandwa. My favorite part of our trip to the rural village had to be spending time with the children; teaching the girls to throw a football, singing the Frosted Flakes song, and having 14 year old boys guess my age/attempt to court me. I cannot wait to see and hear all of the progress of the clinic project and the services it will provide to such a wonderful village of caring people.

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  4. to begin there is no way i could live in the village at all. it would be the simpler things in life that would get me, things like toilets and toilet paper. as far as the clinic goes i believe the hardest part after construction will probably be supplies. i do not know what the supply and distribution is like in the rural areas. that and getting the patient to use the medications as they should. do to lack of understanding and communication i am worried that the drugs will not used as directed. i hope i am wrong,but i am fairly confident that i am not at this point.

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  5. I'm interested to see what happens with the future of the health clinic. Staffing the facility definitely seems to be a possible problem, but looking on the bright side, this could actually provide jobs to people in the area. For once, people from the village could get a higher education somewhere else (perhaps in Kampala) and actually return to their home village to work. This is what pushes communities forward, when successful individuals return to their hometown to work and benefit the local community. As of right now, it is not very viable for a college educated individual to return to their village to live for good. I'm interested to see how this clinic can help improve the community in ways beside health.

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