July 9th – Bob Nickel

Day 7 was another very full day. We got an early start from the African Hospitality Institute (AHI) and drove a few minutes down the road to the Gateway Youth Ranch.  We did hepatitis B vaccinations with the kids and then we did a medical clinic.  It lasted longer than expected and I was reminded about a lesson from medical school: common things occur commonly.

We got a late start to the community clinic which worked out just fine as the church service was just concluding.  We set up the clinic in the churchyard under the trees as we did last year, and the villagers brought out benches from the church.  The community clinic also lasted much much longer than expected.  We worked through lunch and ended just after 6 PM.  We estimated we evaluated about 250 adults and children.  I personally had the pleasure of examining 46 kids and 3 of their mothers.  I ended with a couple of challenging children, an 18-month-old with Down syndrome and a 12-month-old with severe spastic quadriplegia who had opisthotonus and bilateral cortical thumbs (signs of marked brain damage).  He was markedly malnourished and was unable to breast feed adequately. Although I made referrals for both children, their problems illustrated the limits of what we can do in our clinics and the limits of resources for children with developmental disabilities in rural areas of Uganda.

After the community clinic, some of our group headed back to the ranch to take pictures of the boys, and Ginger and I headed back to AHI so I could visit the clinic there and talk with nurse Florence.  I was escorted to the clinic by Maggie, Director of AHI.  She was somewhat pessimistic about that clinic being a resource for the youth ranch due to the limitations of its budget and limited medications on site.  The clinic is open 24/7 and has a staff of 2 nurses. Their salaries are paid by the Africa Children’s Mission.  After talking with Florence, there did appear to be the possibility of collaborating with the clinic.  Florence has been trained in dental care by a US dentist and is able to do dental extractions.  Maggie agreed dental services there were very good.  Only the children of AHI students receive free care at the clinic.  Others are charged for procedures such as dental extractions and for medications.  So there appears to be the possibility of ACCT collaborating with the clinic by providing the limited financial support needed for the clinic to provide dental care including extractions when necessary for the boys at the Gateway ranch.

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At the end of the day, we all gathered for a late dinner at AHI at about 8 PM, said goodbye and thanked Maggie, and then headed to our rooms.  We had to be up early the next day as an international student group of 37 was scheduled to arrive at AHI that morning.

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