20 November 2009

Uganda: U.S. Charities Open Clinic in Kasubi

Kampala — RESIDENTS of Kawaala-Kasubi, in Rubaga Division have a reason to smile after a new health centre was opened there on Wednesday.

The clinic, on Kawaala-Kasubi Road, was established by Hope Medical Clinics Uganda, a non-profit organisation formed by two American charities.

Edward Baharagate, the retired bishop of Hoima Diocese, was the guest-of-honour. He said the clinic would ensure that no patient misses medical services.

According to Charles Lugemwa, the organisation's country director, the idea was initiated by the Rev. Fr. Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas Minnesota and Hope for the City, a non-profit organisation also in Minnesota.

"They raised equipment for the clinic and we looked for staff to run it as a business so that it is self-sustaining," Lugemwa said. "The idea is to offer quality and affordable medical services to the poor."

This is the second clinic to be set up by the group; the first one, in Ndejje, was established in July 2008. The third one, Lugemwa said, will be in Kawempe at the Holy Family Catholic Church.

"The plan is to set up 400 clinics countrywide on Catholic Church land," he said, adding that each clinic costs $25,000 to build and equip.

Lugemwa, who works with Uganda Revenue Authority as the IT manager, said he is a volunteer. He explained that Hope for the City collects used medical equipment in addition to donated medicines to be used in the clinics.

The Kawaala clinic currently employs two nurses, a laboratory technician and a cashier. There are plans to have consultants provide free services to those who cannot afford them, said Lugemnwa.

He explained that each clinic has a 10-member local advisory committee that collects money in instalments from patients who were once treated on credit.

Jane Nantumbwe, a mother of a one-year-old son was excited, saying they would now be assured of treatment.

"We used to go to the Kampala City Council clinic, but you would miss drugs and immunisation for our children," Nantumbwe said.

During the launch, free mosquito nets were given to immunised children and pregnant women.

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