"Medicine on the Equator" during COVID-19 - Development and sustainability during crisis

Updates from our work during the last months

Equipping the Kiboga District of Uganda with COVID-19 Medical Supplies and Knowledge

Due to the decision made by the Israeli Ministry of Health regarding the full recall of all Israeli medical personnel back to their public positions in the Israeli healthcare system, we had to return to Israel and pause our ongoing presence in Uganda for the first time in over six years.

More than ever before, we are incredibly appreciative and are so proud of the local staff in Kiboga, headed by the DHO. The DHO has been able to quickly adapt to the new situation and continues to sustain our mutual work with respect to NCDs and women's healthcare.

These donations were made possible thanks to MASHAV- Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Solel Bonah Uganda, and the private donors of Topaz.

For donating to the efforts of our project during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit Topaz's website in this link.

We are currently using technology to assist the medical personnel in Uganda from a distance to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the medical capacity building that we achieved in the last ten months.

Here is some of the exciting news that has happened since our last update:

Official MoU between our Project and the Ugandan Ministry of Health

The MoU is maintaining cooperation between the Ugandan Government and Topaz regarding our project with a focus on our NCD Medical Capacity-building Model. This has permitted exemptions from customs, duties, and medical licensing fees. The MoU emphasizes the investments made on both sides for training local medical personnel in NCDs and Emergency Medicine.

NCD development - an opening of a new Women's' Health clinic, with a focus on Cervical Cancer, in Kiboga Hospital

Through the leadership of senior Israeli gynecologist Dr. Yizhak Letko, a year-long program for the development, training, and upkeep of a clinic has been planned with the local authorities.

After the first round of training, the clinic opened in January 2020. The clinic was opened thanks to work done with the local community, involving innovation that includes the construction of certain pieces of medical equipment using locally recycled material such as bicycle wheels. Other equipment was donated from Israeli hospitals and other resources within Uganda.

The clinic's community outreach was done via radio announcements and publications in religious, health and community local announcements. Hundreds of women from the Kiboga district and from the region as far as a 6-hour drive have benefited from the medical clinic.

Within 27 days of being active, there were over 528 women who received services, with dozens of consultations. The clients' teams identified 6 cases of cervical cancer and 15 patients received medical procedures locally, 4 were transferred due to advanced stages of cervical cancer.

NCD Development - Expanding Accessibility to the Diabetic Clinic for more Patients.

In the last few months we have managed to surpass over 1,000 patients in the Hospital’s NCD clinic. In the rural clinics, we had the privilege to integrate new nurses and dietitians. The work of the clinic has significantly improved to now have the capacity to serve over 40 patients a day. Since the COVID-19 situation, the clinic is fully operated by the local medical team with online and digital support from Israel when needed. We are happy to see the sustainability of the clinic and look further to building more capacities to be in the near future!

Israeli and Ugandan Doctors Train Israeli Medical Students in Kiboga

Two groups of 6 students each from the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion and at Tel Aviv University participated in an 18-day training in the Kiboga district hospital as part of their academic studies. Under the leadership of Dr. Amy Neuiberger and Dr. Yael Paran, the students learned clinical skills while in the hospital departments, including lessons regarding ID and internal medicine. The Kiboga district hospital gave them exposure to both the medical and social challenges that medical professionals confront when working in a rural setting.

For more about their experience, watch Dr Paran's interview (In Hebrew)

A Visit by Israel's Deputy Ambassador to Uganda

On March 10th, Mr. Eyal visited the Kiboga district hospital to meet with the district officials, the Ugandan medical team and the Israeli volunteers. During these meetings, the Deputy Ambassador and the district officials emphasized the importance of the work being done by the Israeli and Ugandan medical practitioners to improve Uganda's public health system. Following the visit, additional support was granted by the Israeli MASAHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Cross-sectorial appreciation for SBI Uganda

During this crisis even more than during regular routine times, we would like to thank our great partners, Solel Bonah International Uganda (SBI). Over the last few weeks, SBI has helped us as if we were working in normal circumstances with monetary and infrastructural resources that have made our assistance to Kiboga's medical staff and patients possible.

Uganda's Ministry of Health has recently written to the CEO of SBI: "We see the Ministry ‘s collaboration with Solel Boneh and Topaz as a fantastic example of a Public-Private-Social Partnership. We hope there will be more models of this kind of cooperation - as these are the only way for our country's sustainable development."

Looking for more information or want to volunteer?

Please read our pamphlet for volunteers (in Hebrew) and contact us for further information at: med_africa@britolam.org Visit our website: https://www.ima-africa.org/

Join our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Israeli.Medical.Aid.Uganda/

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