While at the school Brian our nurse, was called back to the Centre to treat a 92 year old man with malaria. We got back and the lady we had met a couple of times over the last couple of days who is 9 months pregnant, has started in the early stages of labour. I went to talk to her. Teddy is only 16 years old! A man persuaded her to leave school, got her pregnant and had already deserted her. She is very unhappy and feels deceived. Her mother came later in the afternoon by to support her, so we expect another baby tomorrow!
We noticed lots of school aged children hanging around. When asked, they said they had been sent home until they have school fees. Only the first four children in each family are paid for schooling by the government. The rest have to find fees or stay at home. One little girl, Tawuzi Nakidwendo, aged 12, wants to be a doctor. She is unlikely to get that opportunity as she is not one of the family four and her parents are unlikely to be able to get her to school and to college. She is one of the children that needs financial help to get to school. In contrast, tomorrow we are meeting Suubi who I sponsor to go to boarding school. Her family are extremely poor but she now has a chance at a future which will ultimately benefit all of her family. The school fees appear to vary depending on which grade the children are in. They cannot get through to the next grade until they have passed their exams, which they also have to pay for. An average cost appears to be approximately £13 a term (3 terms a year) + dinner (maize porridge), uniform and shoes so about £18 in total.
Another young boy, Colin aged 14, was hanging around quietly. He had school uniform on but was not in school. We asked why. He told us that both his parents work in different towns and so he stays with his grandmother. He had been sent home from school ill but his grandmother had no money for him to be examined. We took him into the centre be where Brian examined him. He had signs of malaria with a headache, a temperature of 41, nausea and poor appetite. He had a pinprick blood test, was diagnosed with malaria and one if the group paid for his treatment.
Late afternoon the elderly lady pictured, who is 82 years old, had to lay down at the Centre as she was suffering with exhaustion. She wanders around day because she loves to talk to people but is apparently often found collapsed at the side of the road waiting for help.
We need Suubi Medical Centre to eventually become self sustainable and so all patients are asked to pay for all or at least a proportion of their treatment.
So, staff at the Medical Centre are:
Chris who is the part time medical director and had overall responsibility for Suubi Medical Centre.
Brian (in the pictures he is sat down with his stethoscope and also treating Colin) is a registered nurse. He is from the nearby village. He has been qualified a year and a half and has worked at Suubi for about 3 months. He is committed to working here for the next year or two but then wants to be able to step up and do his training in dentistry to help more at the Centre. He supports his parents nearby and wants to buy them some piglets and chickens to give them an income.
Job ( in the white uniform) is the lab technician. He is looking forward to us getting electricity so that he can use equipment that will save money ... for instance, a one off outlay for a microscope will save money on buying throwaway testing strips for malaria and other tests.
Lillian is our Administrator (pictured with Sofia, receiving the sanitary towel packs we made in the UK). She is a gem! She is only 21 but she speaks excellent English, is soon going back to continue studying business studies at weekends and is a fabulous organiser.
Justine is our new midwife (in her blue uniform in the pictures). She is still settling in as she only started this be week and has a busy time ahead with all the pregnant women we have seen!
I have already introduced you to the student nurse to be, Sofia, who is also being sponsored for her studies.
A cleaner and a handyman also make up the staff.
So, a hugely busy time at the Centre and getting busier by the day as the villagers are aware we have medications to be treated nearby.