2020 Year-End Highlights
In a year of challenges, Bulamu responded by launching a new healthcare delivery model that has improved our effectiveness in providing healthcare to the poor in Uganda. Including our February medical camp, we treated 83,827 patients in 2020, an increase of 35% over 2019, at an average cost of less than $5 per patient.
Here are a few more highlights from 2020:
Primary Care Program
- Through our new Clinical Support Team (CST) Program, we sent teams of licensed Ugandan clinicians to 20 different rural health centers for 2 months at a time to treat patients in need. Each CST includes 7 clinicians (doctors, nurses, and midwives) and costs $20,000 for 2 months. We partnered with Wakiso District surrounding Kampala for the June-September placements, followed by Budaka in the east and Bunyangabu in the west for October and November.
- Since the launch in June 2020, Bulamu’s 20 Clinical Support Teams have treated a total of 63,810 patients, or an average of 3,190 patients per team.
- Working side-by-side with government health workers, our CST clinicians have been demonstrating for them the same high productivity and modern clinical procedures we practice at our medical camps, helping to elevate the host health centers’ standards.
Acute Care Program
- In June we launched our Emergency Transport Program, providing ambulance services to 302 patients (about 50 patients each month) for a cost of $25 per trip. This is a crucial benefit wherever public health centers have no budget for this service, as it can make the difference between life and death.
- Our 5-day Surgery Intensives brought teams of experienced Ugandan surgeons with needed equipment and supplies, who operated on about 200 patients each time. Because we rely entirely on local staffing and use existing government health facilities, the average cost is only $112 per surgery.
- Including 77 Angel Program surgeries we sponsored at specialty acute care hospitals, Bulamu provided 2,604 surgeries for low-income patients in 2020, an 82% increase over 2019.
Systemic Change Program
- During the 2 months each Clinical Support Team spends at our partner health centers, Bulamu’s team also begins to install our Health Center Excellence (HCE) program, which we continue to support after our clinicians have departed.
- HCE clinic management improvements include: standard treatment forms for recording patient history and treatment; equipment and training to take vital signs; and timely systemic data to help local health and administrative leaders set management priorities.
- We extended HCE program practices from 27 public hospitals and clinics at the beginning of 2020 to 39 facilities at year-end, which together serve more than 400,000 patients annually.
- To give one example of the HCE program’s impact: By providing the necessary medical devices and training, our program has moved the rate of taking vital signs in 2020 from less than 5% to an average of 65% at all 39 partner health centers.
We know of no other healthcare organization in Africa that is impacting the lives of underserved communities with such cost-effective programs. Facing almost unlimited demand, we could easily expand the number of patients we serve if funding allowed.