Newsletter Vol 1: No 8
Sixth Medical Camp in Arua Sets New Patient Record
Bulamu treated 10,277 patients at the medical camp held November 13-18 in the Arua District, located in the northwest corner of Uganda near the borders of South Sudan and the Congo (DRC). This represented a 29% increase in patient census over the September camp and required that service be extended into Saturday, so no one would be turned away. Arua is home to the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement operated by the United Nations, the largest in the world with 270,000 documented refugees, due to its proximity to those two war-ravaged neighboring countries.
The camp took place at the Oli Health Center IV, a small government-operated clinic that provides the nucleus for the additional rental equipment (tents, tables, chairs, etc.) that Bulamu provides. The total camp cost was $42,495, or $4.13 per patient treated—a slight increase due to our new Bulamu Angel Program, which is funding surgeries for four patients faced with life-threatening or disabling illnesses.
Bulamu Receives Government Recognition
In a ceremony at the Arua Camp, Mr. Debele Peter, Resident District Commissioner of Arua, awarded Gerald Atwine with a Certificate of Appreciation for the contributions Bulamu Healthcare is making to the welfare of the people of Uganda. As RDC, Mr. Debele is the senior government official in the district, indicating that Bulamu’s efforts are now being recognized and appreciated by the Ugandan government. That’s understandable. Since our first camp in April 2016, Bulamu has provided free primary healthcare to 39,000 Ugandans who would probably not have otherwise seen a doctor! That has only been possible because of the generosity of our individual donors in the U.S. and the dedication of our Ugandan medical professionals and partners.
In further recognition of the vital work Bulamu Healthcare is doing, Gerald received a gift of ceremonial fabric from the Vice-Chancellor of Muni University in Arua. Media coverage is also increasing. Gerald was interviewed on a radio talk show, and two journalists who attended the camp published favorable online articles about their experiences.
Bulamu Medical Camp Staffing
At the Arua camp, Bulamu was able to treat 10,277 patients with the same staffing headcount needed for 8,000 patients in September. The camp staff included 163 professionals and 34 support people. Of the 197 staff members, 89% were paid and 11% were volunteers supplied by organizations like the Peace Corps and Reproductive Health Uganda. Typical per diem rates: doctors, $16.00; dentists, $14.00; nurses, $8.00; lab technicians and pastors, $6.00; village health team and staff support, $3.00.
Bulamu Angel Program
While most Bulamu patients can be treated with general medicine services such as antibiotic prescriptions and immunizations, occasionally people bring family members whose illnesses require what they view as a “miracle,” given their meager resources. In response, Bulamu has inaugurated the Bulamu Angel Program, allocating a portion of each camp’s budget to provide surgical interventions in cases where the Ugandan healthcare system has failed to do so. Here are four cases from Arua where Bulamu is either saving lives or correcting disabilities that are severely impacting the patient’s life:
Bulamu Valued Partnerships
The Bulamu medical camp model relies on the support of many partner organizations, such as the Peace Corps and USAID. In Arua, Reproductive Health Uganda, working with the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), screened 1,012 women for cervical cancer, of whom 5.5% tested positive. The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) administered HIV tests to 1,223 patients, with 4.3% testing positive. The Uganda Ministry of Health immunized 898 children. Meanwhile, the Bulamu staff delivered 22 babies and provided free “Maama Kits”, supplied by the Inner Wheel Club of Kampala, to dozens of expectant mothers. Our partner organizations use our concentrated patient base to accomplish their own missions for improving the welfare of Ugandans, a win-win for all.
Bulamu Announces Aggressive Growth Plan for 2018
Bulamu’s Board of Directors has approved an aggressive growth plan for 2018, scheduling six medical camps that will allow us to treat more than 60,000 patients, a 76% increase from the 34,000 patients treated in 2017. Attendance has grown from 2,338 per camp in 2016 to 10,277 in November 2017, indicating Uganda’s critical need for quality primary medical care in rural areas. Bulamu also plans to open a second women’s health clinic, patterned after our very successful joint venture with Mbarara University Hospital that screened 6,000 women for cervical cancer in 2017.
In December Bulamu announced the Jim Balassone $125,000 Memorial Challenge Fund sponsored anonymously by friends of the organization’s co-founder, who passed away suddenly in May 2017. The fund will match dollar-for-dollar all individual gifts made in 2018. The aggressive plan for expanded services means that, in addition to our valued individual donors, new funding sources will have to be developed from foundations and government programs. Thank you for your support!
To learn more or make a donation, please visit www.bulamuhealthcare.org/