Tuesday, 28 September 2010

...last patient of the day

We figured it was time to update you on the progress of the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programme which Alison has been helping to develop for the Touch Namuwongo community project based at IHK, particularly as some of you very kindly donated funds to get it up and running. The clinics are now well under way, with around 20-30 patients per clinic coming through for advice and testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and cervical cancer screening. The clinics are free of charge and are targetted at the members of the community that cannot afford to pay.
There has been a very high uptake which is likely only to get higher as more people learn about the service on offer. Alison has worked closely with the Ugandan medical staff who will continue to deliver the service and raise the profile and importance of sexual and reproductive health within the underpriveledged communities in Uganda once Alison has left.
Your generous donations helped to launch the service and the funding which allows its continued delivery is largely coming from Oxford University in the form of a research grant. The objective of the research project is to develop a risk tool to identify those members of the population most at risk of contracting STDs. This is being achieved by testing all patients currently presenting at the clinic for a range of STDs. Once developed, this tool will subsequently be validated and put to use in the local community and further afield.
We are currently working on raising funds to allow this much needed service to continue for the community once the research is over. As this service is also lacking in the private sector, Alison has helped develop a similar package for the hospital and we are in the process of developing a model which uses the profits generated from this private service to subsidise the service offered to the community. This model of using the infrastructure and resources provided by the private arm of the organisation to help the community, is at the heart of IMG and helps sustain many of our community projects. That said, this model can only provide a part of the solution to meeting the unending health needs of the community and as such we still rely on and are very grateful for any charitable donations through the Suubi Trust (http://blog.suubitrust.org.uk/)
Alison has really enjoyed the community work and has found it the most rewarding job she has ever done. The people with whom Alison works have continually impressed her with their willingess to learn and take on these new challenges and she has felt priveledged to be a part of such a dedicated team.
Inevitably, this line of work, although rewarding, can be emotionally draining, especially with the high number of HIV positive diagnoses and the high rate of non-consensual sexual encounters at such an early age. This could never have been more apparent than the other week as Alison's last patient of the day stepped through the door. Her sad story has really touched a nerve both personally and throughout the organisation. Appreciating that her story will not be appropriate for some of the younger followers of our blog we will not go into the detail here, but if those of a stronger disposition could spare the time to read more about her story and help in any way through the Suubi Trust (http://blog.suubitrust.org.uk/giving/) then please follow the link to Last Patient of the Day

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