Hello! I am writing to you from Kampala, Uganda! It is 7:04pm on Wednesday night. The highlight of the day was definitely the Hospital visit. Katherine and I went to meet Nicolette for a tour of the Hospital.
Nicolette is the wife of the International Director of the program. She works in the pediatric ward of the Hospital during the day until 2:00pm and then runs her own non-profit medical clinic in the evenings. We started the tour in the HIV/AIDS wing, where mainly women and children were waiting to be called in for a consultation.
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The AIDS wing is newer, having been built recently in 2008 with funding from several American organizations. The rest of the hospital was built in the 1960’s and some parts in the 1920’s. Nicolette expressed that the maternity ward is in the greatest need for funding, and when we visited it was clear why she thought that. The ward had room for 30 mothers to give birth. However more than 70 mothers go into labor at the hospital. There were beds lined up in the hallways, but that still didn’t create enough room for all of the mothers.
We went into a room where women were waiting to become fully dilated – there were beds filling the room, and on the available floor space women had taken thin pieces of cloth, tarp, and garbage bags to create beds on the floor where they could lay. No visitors were allowed because of the limited space. The women were in pain, alone, on the floor, without support from their families. In addition, once the babies are born, the Hospital does not have the necessary means to adequately support all of the infants. There is a shortage of incubators, the few working ones that the Hospital has are used for premature babies. Two nurses are required to rotate through the preemies every two hours to hand-administer the nutrients needed because there is no funding for IV’s. By the time the nurses make it through one rotation, it is time to start over again.
Nicolette also showed us the Pediatric ward. She said she wanted to introduce us to one child. We were led to the first bed of a long row lined up against the wall. There was a small girl curled up on her side with big, unfocused eyes watching us. I noticed that she had small bumps all over her entire body – almost like goose bumps. She also had white residue around her mouth, like she had been vomiting. Nicolette introduced us to Faith and calmly explained that Faith’s Kidney had failed and toxins were being deposited throughout her body. Faith needed a Dialysis, which would filter her body of the toxins, but the catheter needed to complete the Dialysis cost 400.000 shillings (around $150.00). Her mother had been encouraged to fundraise for the necessary support but even then, the Dialysis only would provide temporary relief. After a couple weeks her body would begin to re-deposit toxins. Nicolette told us that only a Kidney transplant would save Faith, without it she would rapidly become worse. It was difficult walking away from Faith, so much of me wanted to hand over all of my spending money so that Faith could live a couple more weeks. But I knew that that alone couldn’t save her. "> Visit KUZA’s facebook page!
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