Bulamu Healthcare’s 2018 Annual Report
An introductory letter from Dick Chandler, Bulamu CEO
Bulamu Healthcare is having an incredible impact on the lives of rural Ugandans through our medical Supercamps and our new Health Center Excellence (HCE) Program. In many cases, Bulamu is saving lives. In this report, we rely on facts, figures, and the faces of our patients to tell this story. Imagine arriving at a Bulamu weeklong medical camp on Monday morning and seeing more than 2,000 people standing patiently in line, most of whom walked miles to get there and spent the weekend sleeping on the grounds. They came because they knew they would see a doctor, get the treatment they need, and leave with their prescriptions filled.
We are using the term “Bulamu Supercamp” to convey the breadth of patient treatment and public health services we offer, which goes way beyond any other medical camp in Africa. Our camps are a community-based, cooperative enterprise. We are the catalyst that enlists the cooperation of the Ugandan local district government and Ministry of Health (MOH), that hires 250 Ugandan medical professionals and support staff for the week, that mobilizes 15-20 other NGOs and government agencies to participate, and that attracts 8-12,000 poor Ugandans in need of medical care or other health services.
Think of Bulamu as the “Great Organizer.” Since April 2016, we have served 96,059 patients at 13 camps at an average cost of $6 per patient treated. This incredible cost-effectiveness is possible because we bring together resources that are already present in Uganda. At the last camp I attended, I was thanked profusely by the government officials and MPs, for I was the only foreign national there and they assumed I was responsible. In fact, the credit is owed to our Ugandan full-time staff of super-organizers, our “Core Team” of 40 part-time department supervisors serving multiple camps, and the 200 or more medical professionals well-trained in Western medicine, to whom we pay a modest per diem stipend at each camp. For them it is an act of service, taking time off from their jobs and using their skills to help their fellow Ugandans.
Our donors should take great pride in knowing that even small gifts have such a direct and powerful impact—no bureaucracy, no strings, just a person-to-person gesture that stretches thousands of miles to East Africa and empowers dedicated Ugandans to help each other. Let me summarize some of the year’s highlights that are detailed in later sections of this report:
- The Bulamu Supercamp Service Delivery Model: We treated 42,702 patients at five medical camps in 2018, an increase of 50% over the four camps held in 2017. We oversaw 1,152 surgeries, 2,060 cervical cancer screens, 5,274 HIV tests, 31 natural births, 747 immunizations, 7,680 diagnostic tests, 5,639 eye exams, and 3,479 dental patients.
- The Bulamu Angel Program: Our total camp cost increased to $6.36 per patient treated because we expanded camp services, including the Angel Program. This program allows us to help more seriously ill patients by arranging for their referral and treatment at acute care facilities after the camp.
- The Bulamu Follow-up Program: We inaugurated this pilot program in partnership with the Sheema District to provide continuity of care. We designed a follow-up interview form, shared our patients’ records, and trained the local staff. The District assigned 112 of their Village Health Team members (VHTs) to interview the patients in their homes and find out if our treatment was effective or additional follow-up care was needed. Interviews were conducted with 3,038 patients, representing 45% of the Sheema residents treated at the camp, and 96% reported their condition had improved, with 62% feeling “much better” and 14% having their “symptoms eliminated.” The VHTs referred 28% of the patients to their local MOH clinic for additional treatment.
- The Bulamu Health Center Excellence (HCE) Program: Thanks to one generous donor, we developed this clinic management system to improve medical care, clinician productivity, and patient satisfaction. This March, we began rolling it out to Sheema District’s 26 facilities, which treated a total of 224,000 patients in 2018. The HCE Program introduces patient treatment forms, provides needed medical devices and computers, and trains the clinical staffs in modern management techniques.
- Our Financial Reports: Bulamu posted excellent financial results in 2018, with revenues increasing by 167% to $487,000 from $182,000 in 2017. We benefited from the Jim Balassone Memorial Challenge Fund, which raised a total of $250,000 in honor of our Bulamu co-founder, who sadly passed away in May 2017.
Organization changes in 2018
We strengthened our Uganda organization by establishing a headquarters office in Kampala that employs five full-time staff members, supported by our “Core Team” of 40 part-time supervisors who help run Supercamps and train health workers in HCE disciplines. This team reports to Mackay Masereka, Vice President and Uganda Program Director, who replaced Gerald Atwine in 2018 as Director of Uganda Operations. As President and Co-Founder, Gerald built Bulamu to its current preeminent status among medical camp operators. We greatly appreciate his many important contributions and the leadership and resourcefulness he provided. This management change is a natural evolution as we grow and broaden our strategy beyond medical camps. Gerald lives and works in the U.S. and commuted to Uganda for each camp, whereas Mackay lives in Uganda and can focus all his energies on Bulamu. With the new program
initiatives, we need full-time leadership on the ground. Under Mackay’s management, Bulamu has continued to flourish, and he has earned the respect of Ugandan partners and stakeholders. In our first two Supercamps of 2019, we treated 20,163 patients, an average of 10,081 per camp compared to 8,540 in 2018.
Finally, I want to sincerely thank our donors, who have bet on a young organization with big aspirations. Your financial support is re-making the landscape of medical services available to the poorest of Uganda’s 44 million people. We believe that no other non-profit organization can match Bulamu in the direct patient impact and cost-effectiveness of each dollar spent. Fundraising continues to be the limiting factor in our growth, as the demand for the services we are providing is enormous.
We greatly appreciate your continuing support!
Richard H. Chandler, Board Chair and CEO