We were stopped by an ambulance car and Alfred from Germany, who runs the St. Claire Missionary in a remote area of Uganda, invited us to visit them. As we had time, we drove into the north over basic gravel roads until we reached Orungo and the missionary in the middle of nowhere.
Alfred and Truus showed us the beautiful church, the hospital, the primary school and their special project, a school for disabled children. Both of them give all their heart to this project since many years, making sure that the money from German churches and other donators is used in the intended way.
As every patient needs somebody to take care of him, family members are cooking for them individually in the outside kitchen. Before it was constructed, they cooked on the floor around the hospital.
On our visit, Truus noticed a patient in need of help. She organised the reluctant staff of the hospital to look after him.
Truus explained us, that this a Level III Health Centre and per definition, there is no doctor there at any time.
The lab is mainly diagnosing Malaria, Aids, Ebola and Covid. For all other tests, the patient has to be send to the hospital in Soroti, 47km away, most of it gravel road.
We discussed the topic of telemedicine, if it would be helpful for the hospital to be able to contact a specialised doctor to support them with difficult cases. In the end, they saw their lack in diagnosis and treatment equipment the bigger problem. They anyway would need to send the patient to the hospital in town.
The hospital has 80 beds, but no doctor. There is one medical officer, which has more knowledge than a nurse, but that’s it.
As in any hospital, rubbish is a very sensitive topic. Alfred constructed them an incinerator, where all the rubbish is burnt now.
Alfred is working already more than 20 years on this project, starting during the time of the civil war, where the rebels had destroyed a lot of the former buildings. We were very impressed by his work and dedication.
This hospital is the only place to go to for a large number of people. The biggest problem in health care is the lack of public health insurance. People rather die in the local health centre than go to the bigger hospital because of the costs for the treatment there. There is still a long way to go in Uganda, to be able to guarantee that everybody gets an appropriate treatment.
Next we will visit the schools, also run by the missionary.