Bulamu Healthcare’s 2019 Year-End Highlights

We are pleased to update you on the growing impact Bulamu is having in improving the lives of impoverished Ugandans. Our fifth weeklong medical camp of the year, in the Masindi District of Western Uganda, brought our total to 61,588 patients treated in 2019, an increase of 44% over the prior year. In 2019, Bulamu’s Supercamps averaged 12,318 patients at a direct cost of $5.41 per patient. We provided 92,232 individual medical procedures, an average of 1.5 for each patient who walked through the gates. We believe there is no more cost-effective model for providing professional medical care to Africans in need. In this letter I want to focus on two important elements of the Bulamu service delivery model.

The Bulamu Angel Program

While Bulamu originally focused on primary care, our mission has extended to many services normally only offered at hospitals. We performed surgeries on 1,284 Supercamp patients in 2019 and delivered 96 babies. We also arranged treatment for 732 Angel Patients, an increase of 84% over last year. Of those, 149 needed surgeries at referral hospitals or specialty facilities. We arrange for their direct admission, perform diagnostic tests, pay for family travel and upkeep, and cover the patient’s share of treatment costs. At an average cost of $50 per patient, Angel Program expenses now account for 10% of the typical camp budget of $72,000 and are included in our average cost of under $6 per patient. Angel patient numbers are increasing as Bulamu’s reputation spreads. More patients are traveling longer distances to come, knowing they will receive the care they need. For varied reasons, the existing system has failed them, and they consider us their last and best hope. This is one area where our services are clearly saving lives. Listed below are the most common Angel diagnoses:

The Bulamu Ecosystem: Our Valued Partners

We continue to rely on our partner organizations to provide specialty services to our patients free-of-charge. They join with us because accessing 12-15,000 patients in one week is such an efficient means for them to accomplish their own missions. A good example of that is the Kampala Central Lions Club, a service organization led by president Frank Muramura that focuses on eye care. At the November camp, the Lions Club team performed 101 cataract surgeries to patients who we previously would have sent to private eye clinics at our expense. The Kampala Lions’ generosity will allow us to shift our Angel budget to other patients, whose conditions may be even more critical. In this way, the Supercamp model keeps expanding organically, in both breadth of services and number of patients impacted.

Other examples of valued partnerships are:

  • The Uganda Cancer Institute, which screened an average of 458 women for cervical cancer at each camp in 2019.
  • Uganda’s Infectious Disease Institute, which provided 50 free circumcisions to men at the November camp, as part of Uganda’s highly successful strategy to reduce HIV/AIDS rates—currently down to about 5.5% nationwide.
  • The local District Government that hosts each camp, turning over a Health Center IV campus to us for the week and helping with publicity, staff recruiting, ambulances, security, and other support—all in a free exchange of services with Bulamu.

In a recent letter of endorsement, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director General of the Ministry of Health, said, “In the context of Uganda’s healthcare system, Bulamu is a highly effective catalyst for mobilizing local resources and is an organization that the Ministry of Health is proud to have as a partner.”

Conclusion: Some Creative End-of-Year Gift Ideas

If you believe that all lives have equal value, we would argue that a gift to Bulamu Healthcare will have more direct impact on improving people’s lives than any other organization available. Here are some examples of the impact your gift today can have:

  • $500 will allow about 100 poor Ugandans, a majority of whom are women and children, to receive medical care they vitally need at a Bulamu Supercamp.
  • $1200 will purchase an oxygen concentrator and nebulizer that will simultaneously supply oxygen to two patients who are critically ill and might die without it. It can do this for different patients every week, indefinitely, by simply plugging it into the wall.
  • $1500 can provide clean well-water piped into a medical facility that currently lacks running water.
  • $5000 will pay for 100 Angel Patients who need escalation to an acute care facility for what could be a life-saving procedure.
  • $10,000 will provide the diagnostic devices needed for doctors and nurses to take vital signs at government health facilities in Sheema or a follow-on district as part of the Bulamu Health Center Excellence (HCE) Program.
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At whatever level you can support Bulamu Healthcare, we thank you for your generosity in making the world a better place!

Sincerely,

Richard H. Chandler
Chairman and CEO