Written by: Steve Hickerson, MD
Wow! What an awesome God we serve and what a joy it is to see what He is doing throughout Uganda. While traveling with team 72, I have discovered a gem hidden within PCM called the Kate Clinic. Tucked away in a rural and remote part of Uganda, near Kyassenya Primary School, is an area that is tremendously underserved from a medical standpoint and where people do not have means or the financial resources to travel the distance to reach medical care. This clinic provides basic health care for this remote region doing so much with so very little resources.
What l was able to observe was a group of healthcare providers who love these people and desire to serve the Lord by providing the best of medical care that they are equipped to provide. There is no running water or electricity and only a battery with a converter so they can charge cell phones to communicate with staff when off site and if a higher level of care is required.
They have a lab which can perform some very basic lab tests using a battery-powered microscope and a hand-powered centrifuge.
They have a pharmacy that provides medications including Tylenol, ibuprofen, meds for nausea, antacids, and acid-reducing agents, as well as antimalarial agents and some antibiotics. For their patients on the ward, they provide intravenous fluids, antibiotics, pain medications and medications for nausea. At the time of our visit their stock of medications was very few and thanks to God’s divine intervention at customs, our team was able to replenish many of these medications.
Their commitment is evident in all that they do. What a joy it was to be able to encourage these individuals, to teach them and to listen to their hopes and desires for this clinic. This clinic has grown in the few years of existence and now sees approximately 500 patients a month for medical and now dental care. Part of our team was Dr. Ben Bunt, who was able to provide hands-on teaching to Dr. Ambrose and Dr. Antony on methods to pull decayed teeth so that dental care will be available to those in need.
My role was to assess the needs of the clinic, teach them regarding treating infectious diseases common to Uganda, discuss patient care issues and assist them in continuing to provide quality care utilizing what resources they have available.
We also discovered that medical care is not only provided in the ambulatory setting but also managing patients in a dark, often hot, 8 bed ward from an overnight stay up to 7 days with patients only separated by curtains. While we were there people with malaria, typhoid fever, diarrheal infections and trauma were managed in this small ward.
Dr. Ambrose had been called into the clinic at midnight the evening before our arrival to assess a patient involved in a boda-boda (motorcycle) accident. When patients are kept overnight, one member of the staff will spend the night on site to monitor the patients. Presently the on-site housing for the medical staff is under construction. Because of this, staff will often sleep on a cot and will use dim torches (flashlights) to monitor their patients.
Pray for these devoted people and pray that God will reveal to us ways that we can continue to come alongside them to encourage them and provide support so that God can continue to use this clinic as a tool for His love to shine. One patient said, “This clinic has done so much for me and my family.”
John 13:34, 35 commands us to love our neighbor so that they will know we are followers of Christ. The clinic staff, supported by PCM, is showing God’s love and compassion through providing medical care that they otherwise would not receive.