As in most developing countries, the health of the Ugandan people is incredibly poor. This is mainly due to infectious diseases (most of which are preventable and/or treatable), illiteracy, and perpetual poverty. Some of Uganda’s most common infectious diseases include: malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, chronic cough, STDs, hepatitis A and B, among others. Due to the high illiteracy level in Uganda, people are largely unaware of how to safeguard themselves from contracting such preventable diseases. These diseases can be avoided by practicing proper sanitation and adhering to basic principles of primary health care (e.g. personal hygiene, keeping animals away from living quarters, safe food handling and cooking methods). The people who are most affected are exclusively the poor and marginalized populations with limited geographical and monetary access to health care.
The following is a testimony from Amanda Aaseby, a Registered Nurse who is currently living and volunteering in rural Uganda:
“Since we've been here in Uganda, I have been volunteering at the local government-funded clinic. The staff has been very welcoming and patient with my many questions. As I observe their facilities, I am heartbroken by the lack of resources. They lack all basic medical supplies: stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, scales, and otoscopes. None of these most basic items can be found in their facility. Tragically, this is the primary healthcare facility for the local people and the surrounding areas – a population of over 20,000. While it is true that other private medical clinics are available, the fees required for those facilities are unrealistic for families focused on simply trying to survive. The staff at this clinic eagerly desires to care for their community. They long to be able to provide the necessary healthcare to an often sick and suffering community. However, their lack of resources greatly hinders any hope for fulfilling this very honorable desire.”
The lack of necessary medical equipment directly contributes to poor medical service and failure to properly diagnose and treat patients. Such circumstances have contributed to the high mortality rate in Uganda and Africa at large, where millions of people die of preventable and curable diseases. With our desire to represent God in service to the people of Uganda, it is crucial that we consider not only their spiritual health, but their holistic well-being. We believe that the fullness of life that God desires for all humanity extends beyond the people’s spiritual/relational need for God, but also includes their physical, social, and economic health. It is upon this understanding that Amanda Aaseby and maternal health worker Celesta Bargatze offer to volunteer their nursing services to rural Ugandans in hopes of improving their quality of life. Pray for them as they utilize their skills to serve human beings who are in great need of holistic healing.
By: John Nyago