Bulamu’s 2022 Q1 Report

Bulamu added our 10th and 11th partner government districts in January, Amuru and Gulu, both located in the far north of Uganda. Four Clinical Support Teams (CSTs), assigned to the 8 largest health centers in these districts, treated a total of 21,752 patients over 8weeks. By Q3, we will have installed the Health Center Excellence (HCE) Program in 100 new partner facilities in Isingiro, Amuru, and Gulu districts, thanks partly to a Global Grant from Rotary International for vital signs equipment and training. At that point, the HCE management system will be installed in all 11 partner districts’ 311 hospitals and clinics, or about 10% of Uganda’s public health facilities. These 311 Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities treat more than 3 million patients per year, showing the reach our approach has by partnering with existing health centers, staff, and leaders. While the facilities are built and staffed with generally well-trained clinicians, the MOH system faces multiple bottlenecks, which is where Bulamu’s programs come in to improve standards of care, management systems, and health outcomes for patients.

Florence needed an emergency C-section to save her life and her baby’s. Fortunately, Bulamu’s Clinical Support Team was there in Mayuge District to make sure they got the care they needed!

Surgery Intensive Program Updates

We conducted two Surgery Intensives (SI) in the quarter, the first in February at Kasangati Health Center IV, Wakiso District, which treated 267 patients. In March, the SI at Atiak HC IV, Amuru District, treated a record 383 patients, adding a 6th day because of demand. While the surgeries are free for the patients, our cost for the 650 patients averaged $145 per person. Our partner districts love this program, because we are addressing a backlog of untreated surgery patients. Based on recent survey data, most patients had waited more than 1 year for surgery, and many have suffered from their conditions for 10 or more years. The patients simply did not have the money required by government or private hospitals. We are their only hope. The Surgery Intensive teams are now led by some of the leading surgeons in the country, thanks to our partnership with the Association of Surgeons of Uganda (ASOU).

In Q1, our Clinical Support Teams performed 459 less complicated surgeries, and we arranged for 31 patients to be treated at partner specialty hospitals through the Angel Program. We facilitated 103 patient referrals through our Emergency Transport (ET) Program, which moves patients to an operating room or delivery room quickly. We also supported an additional 670 surgeries thanks to our Essential Surgical Supplies (ESS) Program, which keeps partner health centers from turning patients away due to lack of supplies.

Alice, a Bulamu surgery patient in 2021, reflects on the impact of finally having a painful lipoma removed. “After 10 years of suffering, unable to play with my grandkids or farm, Bulamu finally gave me a good story to tell. I absolutely love the surgical team at Bulamu. They brought medical care to us living in remote villages and made a world of difference to me and my family.”

Digital Communication Platforms

Over the past three months we have upgraded our presence across a number of digital platforms. Our redesigned website now shares touching patient stories, while still including the data that demonstrate the impact and cost-effectiveness of our programs. We have added videos, including one that provides a visual overview of our work in recent years. We now have a strong presence on FacebookTwitter and Instagram with regular updates from the patients we serve. We published updated profiles and received high ratings on the two leading digital platforms for US nonprofits, Charity Navigator and Candid (previously called Guidestar), which awarded us its Platinum Transparency rating for 2022.

Bulamu’s Local Government Partners Meet Each Other

Bulamu’s Local Government Partners Meet Each Other
We held the first annual Bulamu District Officers Conference in Kampala from February 23-25, bringing together the District Health Officers (DHOs) and District Biostatisticians (Biostats) from our 11 partner districts. These DHOs supervise the 311 public health facilities in their districts, and the Biostats are the data officers, providing the reams of public health data required by the MOH. The 3-day program solicited their feedback on HCE program improvements and other new Bulamu initiatives, while also allowing them to share best practices on how they meet the demanding challenges of their jobs. The second day was devoted to a Management Skills Seminartaught by Dick Chandler, pulling key ideas from his MBA course in CEO leadership taught for many years at the University of California, Irvine.

The DHOs are all doctors, some also with public health degrees but none with any formal management training – even though they are managing 15-58 facilities with 150-650 employees per district. The conference represented the first step in building a distinctive HCE culture within a government environment, as exemplified by their unanimous adoption of a common District HCE Mission and Values statement that will be posted prominently in all facilities. We also secured their commitment to provide more active operational management of their health centers by using the HCE management reports and support systems that are available to them. The District Officers gave the conference very positive reviews and agreed to provide a formal, written endorsement of Bulamu’s programs to senior officials at the MOH when the time is right.

We hope you will consider sharing Bulamu’s work with friends who might want to learn more about improving healthcare for the poor through our cost-effective programs. As always, our growth in helping more patients is limited by our fundraising success, and for that, we need more friends like you. Thank you.