January 9, 2024
Uganda Fall Update #8 (Medical)
September 16, 2017
The children of Dreamland have been blessed by God in many ways, including providing medical care in some of the harshest conditions. The medical clinic is about 6’x10’, but it provides 1-2 beds and storage for medical supplies and drugs. Celina has been the medical caregiver for the last 3 months. Her medical training is probably equivalent to a CNA in the states with 6 months training. Both parents and three of her five siblings were killed in the war. Her remaining brother is 16 years old. He is in a UN school, which she says is not good. There are more than 300 students in his classes but he still wants to continue in school. Her brother, like the children of Dreamland, recognize that education is the only way to get ahead and survive.
Nole is a medical technician who assists Celina and Dreamland with little compensation. He survives by diagnosing patients in the Rhino Camp with malaria and upper respiratory conditions (UTI’s) and selling them drugs for treatments. He gave me a brief picture of the civil war as he saw it. The Dinka tribe is the ruling tribe and make up the majority of the government in South Sudan, including the President. The Nuer Tribe is one of the Kakwa speaking tribes that was being brutally conquered and killed by the Dinka’s. They comprise the rebels that are fighting to gain power in South Sudan. Peace will not be accomplished until the two parties can find solution. The protocols that are used to treat the children were obtained by talking to Celina and Nole.
Fungal infections are a prime problem among the children but they are being treated with oral medicine. Of the 135 children, half are actively being treated.
Malaria and UTI’s are the next biggest health problems. Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, vomiting and malaise (aching flu-like symptoms). Malaria is treated with a 3 drug protocol. Almost all patients have symptoms alleviated after the third treatment. Of the 135 children, 67 have had malaria this year and 15 responded to 1st line treatment, 25 responded to 2nd line treatment and 27 responded to 3rd line treatment. If a patient failed to respond to the 3 treatments, they would be sent to a first line hospital in Aura.
The medical centers have 4 classifications:
- First line or “Original Referral Hospital” is where surgeries, dental and specialty medicine is practiced.
- Health Center 2 is the classification of the Dreamland clinic which would be like our Primary Care Physician.
- Health Center 3 treats AIDS and neonatal care.
- Health Center 4 has the same care as #1 but no dental or eye care or specialties, just surgery.
None of the children have AIDS but the disease is rampant among the Rhino camp population. There is also no River Blindness among the children but they did not know about the rest of the camp. Enteric Fever and Typhoid has affected some of the children. They go to an Original Referral Hospital for diagnosis and treatment. During our visit, seven children were diagnosed with Typhoid and they all contracted it from drinking water from the Nile River while at boarding school.
Flu is common at certain times of the year as it is back home, and their supportive therapy mimic our treatments. Pin and round worms are a problem all over Africa and the children are treated every 3 months. If a child develops worms after the treatment, they are given a different medication, which cures most cases.
Routine hygiene includes daily showers, according to the staff. The children brush with toothpaste and their own toothbrush after every meal but I believe this may be a goal and not yet fully practiced.
Finally, water remains a precious commodity, and God has seen that the children and the camp have water delivery every 3 days. Still, there needs to be a back-up in case the trucks somehow fail to get through, either from impassable roads or other conflicts. A partner church in West Lafayette, Indiana drilled a well at the Dreamland, but it is dry and doesn’t produce water. The Vineyard church drilled a well in the camp by a school, but it is too far away to be used by the Dreamland children. One of our missions this trip was to install gutters on both dormitories and run them into collecting tanks or cisterns. A high-point of the trip was to see a 55-gallon barrel that God filled with water from our gutters, after an over-night rain. The cisterns were completed literally hours before our departure. The other part of our project was to purchase solar lighting for both dormitories and pay for their installation. This was completed on Tuesday. God could be seen in the smiles of children in rooms that previously were filled with darkness.