Doctors attend to a patient

The journey to save lives in the village of Kyannamukaaka, Masaka begun on a rather dreary note as rains continued to pour, rendering most of the muram roads slippery and muddy as the buses carrying the medical personnel to Kyannamukaaka health centre IV found it rather difficult to navigate the wet terrain.

The station where Bulamu International would hold its 9th medical camp in June, was a 40 minute drive from the town of Masaka, the unfavorable weather only served to delay the camp’s activities and further irritate the attendees and staff.

However, this neither deterred nor dampened the moods of the eager passengers onboard,as doctors and nurses jumped out and lent a hand on several occasions: shoveling and carrying the mud out from under the vehicles whilst others pushed the buses onto firmer ground.

Mother and child after surgery.

This wouldn’t have been an issue had it not been repetitive for another two days.The strain became unbearable as several vehicles found themselves stranded in the same conundrum at odd hours of the night with little to know hope of break down services within that area.

Despite tensions rising, and anxiety at a climax, doctors continued to work around the clock not only to ensure the safety of their colleagues but also the lives of the patients awaiting their arrival at the camp site.

This was only but a glimpse into the trials and challenges that many of these doctors and nurses had to endure in order to secure the health of many Ugandans, not just during this camp alone but throughout the year and their medical careers.

Bulamu volunteers after the camp

The medical doctors weren’t the only ones affected by the rainy season in the village, as the first two days of the camp also resulted in a poor turn up of patients; prompting the organization to plan and re-adopt other measures such as mobilization and advertisement that would ensure the camps success.

“This is the first time we have witnessed such a low turn up of patients during one of our camps but we urged the Village health teams and local government to intervene and spread word.” said Gerard Atwiine, Director-Bualmu International.

He also revealed that all camps usually run on a budget of about $40,000 and a set target number of 10,000 patients treated per camp. Given the unpredicted circumstances found in Masaka, such as weather and sabotage by rogue political agents, the results for this Health camp looked rather bleak.

Fortunately for the team and other partners the rains came to a halt and by the third day word of the camp’s unprecedented record from previous outreaches had travelled and patients begun to pour in the numbers.

The initial planning of the medical health camp was done through invitation by the Vice President, H.E Edward Ssekandi himself, who praised the organizations work throughout the country, urging Mr. Atwiine and his team to visit his hometown and treat the people there aswell.

Like past camps, it also welcomed a variety of patients, from the elderly to secondary students and a record number of infants who received vaccination services against polio, tetanus and diphtheria including a total of 8 births recorded during the camp.

Among other services offered the populace of Kyannamukaaka and neighboring villages were; Mama-kits, vaccination, dental surgery, optical treatment as well as enrollment into the newly established Angel programme that caters for those with complicated cases such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus and other ailments that would require outside intervention and care.

Patients taken under the Angel program

‘I have seen many camps but this one has been of a different kind; a camp that has set a standard and should continue to do so.

“We also urge that you find a way to work with Government inorder to improve our health care system.’ said Vincent Kityamusubire, Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Vice president, at the closing ceremony of the week-long camp that saw 167 patients already surgically operated on out of the 200 who had been enrolled.

He also noted that the area had witnessed a number of camps but Bulamu International was the first of its kind to offer surgical services aswell as free eye glasses. Hon. Freda Kase Mubunda also thanked the Vice President for inviting the organization to Masaka and lauded the organization for its initiative that offered such complete and comprehensive services.

The organization aims to improve the welfare of many individuals living in the impoverished communities within Uganda and since it first camp in 2015, it has managed to treat more than 50,000 patients for free with three other camps scheduled for the remainder of the year.

With more support from government and other responsible organizations the U.S based organization believes it is more than capable of improving not only the lives of many more Ugandans but the general health care system of Uganda.