I have been a GP in Llanelli for over 35 years. My wife has just retired as a health visitor. Our involvement with the people in Soroti began two years ago. Our youngest son Geraint went to Uganda with EFOD, South West Wales for 2 weeks. EFOD is a project that usually offers life-changing experiences to construction apprentices, but he went to film them as part of his final year project in media production at Cardiff University. When he came home it was quite clear that the experience had affected him deeply. He had given away his shoes and clothes and most of his possessions. “You see, there are people with nothing” he said. Then he told us, “with your skills you have to go”.
6 months later we were in Soroti. EFOD had built a fabulous medical centre meant to provide primary care and overnight treatment to an incredibly deprived and poor community. The town had survived the horrors of Idi Amin and the even more dreadful atrocities of the LRA but there were huge challenges running the health centre. Malaria, HIV and tropical infections are commonplace. Without treatment children especially were dying needlessly.
Action for Soroti Baptist Medical Centre Uganda
We have now been to Soroti 3 times. Most of our work has been to improve the care in the centre as well as a lot of hands-on treatment. We plan to return again in January. 2019. All of our visits have been self-funded. We have donated equipment and last time bought a new biochemistry analyser. We directly sponsor one young man to train as a pharmacy technician and fund some of the work at the centre via a small charity which has no overheads (the SaltPeter Trust). Last year we also raised £6,000 and after my father died, donations after the funeral went to the charity. Last April we bought grain when the rains failed.
We now have friends and a community that we care about deeply. This feeling seems to be reciprocated. We held our last team meeting in English, Ateso (the local language) and Welsh. I am Provost of the South Wales Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners. We have established a formal link with the medical centre.
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