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Uganda 2019 Program

Uganda 2019 Program

A whole year gone and I’m looking forward to my annual trip to Uganda again! This time I am leaving the UK on September 2nd, flying with first of all to Nairobi in Kenya, where I will spend the first week doing some work with PRiME (https://www.prime-international.org/home.htm). PRiME Kenya have been invited to run a pre-conference training session on PRiME’s work, and my good friend and colleague Godfrey (who is the director of CHALAPI – the Centre for Hope And Life in and After Prison Initiative) and I have been invited to do a session on ‘Whole Prison Care’ during this time. The conference is being run by the ICMDA (International Christian Medical and Dental Association) https://icmda.netand PRiME’s slot is for 3 days before the main conference starts. This is a big opportunity for Godfrey and I to encourage health professionals from all over East Africa to visit prisons, as there will be many doctors and dentists attending the ICMDA conference. Godfrey will be flying from Entebbe in Uganda for this, and it will be his first time on an aeroplane, and his first time at a major PRiME event because his visa for PRiME’s annual conference in March was sadly refused.

After the conference finishes, Godfrey and I will fly to Entebbe on September 8th and will travel to Kasese on 12th. I have no idea yet what I will be doing during this time, but Godfrey has hinted that it will involve doing some Whole Person Healthcare Training with either Prison Officers, Pastors, Teachers, Community Leaders and/or students. (Or hopefully all of them!) We would like to do some teaching about mental health and illness, which is very stigmatised there, leaving many people with these conditions struggle to work and be accepted in society. Sufferers are frequently bound with shackles and hidden away in homes as medication is scarce and expensive and people are afraid of what they do not understand. There is only one specialist Psychiatric Hospital in Uganda, and is in Kampala. It has 500 beds but is overflowing and has been closed to new admissions now. We hope to be able to do some education with key community people to demystify some of the mental health conditions, and encourage them to visit sufferers and their families. This ties in with prison work as often people with mental health conditions can find themselves in prison too.

I’m sure we will also be visiting some prisons, where needs remain enormous, particularly in the more remote areas where visitors are few and poor conditions often go unnoticed, except by CHALAPI. I hope to visit Katwe Prison in the Queen Elizabeth National Park again, where Prisoners have to take turns in lying down to sleep as there is not enough floor space for them all to lie down at the same time. (We hope to dodge the cheetahs again too, as the only route is on Boda Boda motorbike across the Park.) I also hope to catch up with all the other activities CHALAPI have been involved in in the last year, visiting the many beneficiaries of your kind donations and support. I will try and get photos!

I am excited to say that this year I will be able to go on the monthly medical outreach from Kagando Hospital to Nyabirongo Prison on September 29th. I was not able to do this last year so am really looking forward to it. I will be going with Nurse Robert and Nurse Mollin, who were first contacts with the poor young lad who had contracted Ebola, who turned up at Kagando Hospital in June this year. Sadly, the boy died as did his grandmother, and Robert and Mollin were quarantined for 21 days following their contact with him. Robert had received the vaccination but Mollin is pregnant and could not have it. Miraculously both have remained well, despite direct contact with the child, and are both back at work. Their actions in quickly recognising this terrible disease and dealing with it undoubtedly saved many many lives and I can’t wait to see them.

I will return to Entebbe on September 30th, and I fly back with KLM on October 1st, arriving back in the UK on 2nd.

As always, thank you so much for your interest in this work, and for your support in so many ways. I will be posting the progress on the CHALAPI Facebook page when I have wifi, so if you are not connected with this page and would like to be, please let me know. I will also be reporting back to you on my return.

May God richly bless you

Jo

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