November 28, 2017. Bulamu Healthcare, a non-profit organization that provides primary medical care to the people of rural Uganda, announced today a $125,000 Challenge Fund in honor of its co-founder, Jim Balassone, who passed away in May 2017. The Fund will match dollar-for-dollar all donations made to Bulamu between now and December 31, 2018. The funds were contributed in varying amounts by ten of Jim’s friends who had previously supported Bulamu and wanted to honor Jim’s memory.
Bulamu Healthcare operates weeklong “pop-up” medical camps that provide free medical care by hiring Ugandan doctors, nurses, lab technicians, dentists, and optometrists, all of whom have been trained in Western medicine. The organization also operates a walk-in cancer screening and treatment clinic in a joint venture with the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. Bulamu was co-founded in 2016 by Balassone and Gerald Atwine, a Registered Nurse born in Uganda and trained at the University of Michigan, who met Jim while working at the Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, CA when Jim was a patient there.
The Challenge Fund, which will reach $250,000 when matched by $125,000 in additional donations, will fund all six medical camps planned for 2018 plus the Bulamu Cervical Cancer Clinic in Mbarara. Altogether, Bulamu is expecting to treat 61,000 patients in 2018 at a direct cost of about $4 per patient. Bulamu’s most recent camp, held in Mbale in September 2017, cost about $30,000 and treated 8,000 patients for cost of $3.87 per patient. Doctors at that camp performed 262 outpatient surgeries, including delivering 25 babies with a staff of 190 Ugandan medical professionals and support personnel.