The success of the Bulamu weeklong medical camp model, which provides a broad range of medical treatments and public health workshops, is founded on our ability to bring together patients and healthcare professionals in a concentrated time and place. To do this, we have developed and refined three special skills and resources that are not easily to duplicate:
1. Marketing Outreach: We have developed marketing outreach skills that use a combination of: public service radio announcements, posting of flyers, contacts with local organizations, and word-of-mouth as our reputation grows virally. The result: 5500 patients showed up in June, 8,000 in September, and 10,277 in November—all with minimal expenditure on our part. We are fortunate to be tapping into a need so profound that our customers are coming to us.
2. Professional Staffing: We have learned how to recruit well-trained Ugandan medical professionals—doctors, physician assistants, med students, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, lab technicians, opticians, etc.—and adjust our staffing to meet patient loads even without a patient pre-registration system. This flexibility means that we have not had to turn any patients away, one of our core principles. At the September camp, our total headcount reached 194 staff members, whom we were able to recruit at per diem wages that allowed us to treat each patient at a cost of just under $4.00.
3. Partner Organizations: The Bulamu medical camp model would also not be possible without our partnerships with more than twenty organizations operating in Uganda who share our commitment to improve the health and well-being of rural Ugandans. Our ability to bring together those 8,000+ patients at a concentrated time and place provides a platform that is very cost effective for these partner organizations accomplish their own missions. As a result, they are willing to provide their services at modest or no cost to us. Here are some of our most valued partner organizations. There are others operating at the local district level who are too numerous to name.
- Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital and Medical School
- Busiteema University Medical and Nursing Schools
- The AIDS Support Organization (TASO)
- Reproductive Health Uganda
- Medical and Dental Missioners
- Uganda Blood Bank
- Inner Wheel Club of Kampala
- Rotary Clubs of Uganda
- US Peace Corps Uganda
- US AID
- District Health Officers (DHO)
- Village Health Teams (VHT) in each district
- Ministry of Health Uganda
- Uganda Christian Churches
- Gitteos Pharmacy Uganda
- Uganda Joint Medical Stores
- American Academy of Pediatrics for Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program
- International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)
- Edgar Katego Mutungi (EKM) Family foundation of Toronto
- Uganda Cancer Institute
- Fred Hutch Cancer Research Institute -Seattle
Bulamu has been able to create a unique, proprietary ecosystem of resources and partner organizations that is the key to our success. Our ability to assemble these resources on demand, as needed, without an advance reservation system and still not turn anyone away is a testament to the dedication, flexibility, and professionalism of each medical camp team. We are deeply appreciative of the continuing support of these individuals and partner organizations.
Our biggest challenge now is to attract the funding necessary to extend our services to so many other Ugandans living in rural areas who have healthcare needs that are not being met. We thank you for your continued support as we work to improve the well-being of all rural Ugandans.