In 2007 the Goossens family went to visit their daughter Tamar, who was doing voluntary work in Uganda at a school and orphanage. A long story, but Tamar had fallen in love with Uganda and its children. Once we had arrived at that school and neighbourhood, we saw on the one hand great poverty, primitive conditions, no facilities; a seemingly hopeless situation. On the other hand we saw energetic children making the best of their opportunities. Tamar is studying medicine and in the meantime she goes to Uganda yearly. After finishing her studies, her dream is to deploy her qualities for the Ugandan population.
In the slums, but especially in the small villages the conditions are often downright bad. There are no good affordable medical facilities. The quality of healthcare is alarming. Pharmacies you can find everywhere and a lot is sold without prescription, but a good doctor in not available in every clinic. Some clinics pretend to do blood testing, whereas there is no lab. Especially mothers die unnecessarily while giving birth, because a clinic does not have a midwife or because the medicine to stop bleeding is not available.
To go to a doctor when you are not feeling well; to have an ambulance arrive within 15 minutes when something serious happens; to go to a pharmacy for medicine. For us a normal thing, but unfortunately in a lot of places in the world far from that. This is why daily thousands of children and adults die of diseases that can easily and successfully be treated.
In 2000 Governments of 189 countries have agreed to tackle important world problems before 2015. Eight concrete objectives were established. The millennium objectives! Also from these objectives it is apparent that the results of improving infant- and maternal mortality do not meet the expectations. Having a (mobile) clinic, a small contribution will be provided in trying to realize the three millennium objectives mentioned below:
Millennium objective 4: Reduce infant mortality
The percentage of children younger than 5 years old that die in third world countries, was meant to have been reduced by two thirds compared to 1990. In that year 13 million children died in poor countries.
Millennium objective 5: Improve health of mothers.
Yearly half a million women die during pregnancy. In the millennium objectives in was agreed upon that in 2015 this should be reduced by three quarters compared to 1990. To realize this reproductive and sexual rights of women are essential.
Millennium objective 5: Fight hiv/aids, malaria and other deadly diseases.
Since the beginning of the 90’s, aids has made millions of victims, especially in Africa. In 2015 they agreed that the spread of hiv/aids should have been brought to a halt. Also for the people with hiv/aids the right medicine should be available.
It is our intention to realize a (mobile) clinic with multiple facilities so that we are not only able to provide preventive healthcare, but also basic medical care in areas where at present there is no readily healthcare available. The objectives of this (mobile) clinic are to offer general medical help, obstetric care, prevention, education and vaccination and provide a vaccination program to the inhabitants of these remote villages. After the successful start of the first mobile clinic our secondary objective would be to create multiple centres in Uganda, in areas where there are no facilities.
Like my father has already written, in the last couple of years I fell in love with Uganda, the country, the people and in particular the children. As I have often written in my weblog, medical help is sorely needed. Time and time again I enjoy taking care of the children in the orphanage, but I also realize that this means that they do not grown up in an ordinary family. Moreover, I have experienced the anxious glances in the eyes of the mothers, the anxiety to lose their children. But also gratitude when a malnourished child suddenly gains weight or when the mother leaves the hospital, holding a living and healthy baby in her arms. Since I have been privileged to be able to experience the necessity of the help that we van provide, I dream of being able to start working there as a doctor. When I saw, as an intern, that with the right medical help we can gain so much, I was determined: I want to be working as a doctor in Uganda.