How do we work?
As The Rob Foundation, we want to make a difference, at local level in Uganda, by improving healthcare: less infant mortality, prevent undernourishment, improve the health of mothers and combat hiv/aids, malaria and other deadly diseases.
With this The Rob Foundation joins in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as set out in 2016 by the United Nations, as replacement for the previously formulated Millennium Development goals. The Rob Foundation mainly focuses on the core value: ‘People – Access to healthcare and education for everybody (also women and girls)’.
We aim to achieve these goals through outreaches with competent medical staff whereby we can provide information and good medical care to the population that does not have access to affordable and accessible medical care. Tamar Goossens, a Dutch doctor and director of The Rob Foundation, is the initiator of these outreaches.
Tamar works, besides her work for The Rob Foundation, since May 2015 officially as doctor in Noah’s Ark clinic; an organization, in Mukono, which provides a home for more than 170 neglected, abandoned and abused children. The clinic offers good and affordable healthcare, such as obstetric care during childbirth. There is also an undernourishment ward.
This makes it possible for The Rob Foundation to hire staff from the clinic for our outreaches, weekly we visit the people in the villages and schools around Mukono to provide information, vaccinate and/or suggest getting early medical help amongst other things to prevent children from ending up in the undernourishment ward.
The collaborations with Noah’s Ark’s medical staff causes the clinic to be brought under the attention of the local population. This lowers the threshold to ask for the necessary medical assistance.
During the outreaches, we especially focus on pregnant women, mothers, and children:
- Information on health nutrition to prevent undernourishment: for many people, basic knowledge is lacking. We explain the advantages of breastfeeding;
- Hygiene: here also the basic knowledge in instrumental (how to keep yourself and your surrounding clean)
We link hygiene to other subjects (for example how can good hygiene prevent diarrhea, a main causes of undernourishment);
- HIV/Aids: whereby we do not only provide information on prevention of this illness, but also provide the possibility to be tested on HIV and if necessary refer to a clinic where they will be able to receive mediation;
- Hypertension (high blood pressure): Africans have genetically a higher chance of developing hypertension. We screen people by measuring their blood pressure, provide information about medication and how a change of lifestyle can lower the blood pressure. We advise people with a too high blood pressure to go to Noah’s Ark’s clinic or another big hospital;
- Family planning: here we explain the importance of good family planning and offer free birth control to make it actually possible;
- In the schools, we vaccinate all girls of 12 years and older against Tetanus and all girls of 10 years against Cervical cancer;
- All children that we see are dewormed and all children up to 5 years old receive Vitamin A drops to prevent eye problems and to reduce the severity of main infections;
- We preform minor medical interventions to prevent dangerous infections, spread of HIV, (deadly) complications in pregnancy and the like.
Sometimes an outreach makes an emergency visible, where we can actually make a difference. This is how the Afripad project came about. It makes it possible for the girls to receive their education and not be held back by menstruation.
The foundation aims to be close to the people with her activities. We intentionally work together with the local populations. Our experiences during the past years has confirmed the importance of this. Now we have number of village that we visit several times a year.
First, we establish a report with the village chiefs. For a good outreach the permission and a good collaboration with these chiefs is very important. Sometimes they inform us when there is a situation in neighboring villages. Other times they alert us that a village nearby also would like our help, but which has not been registered for medical (outreach) teams to visit them. This is how we create a network.
To mobilize the people, we use the village health team. These are people that have been appointed by the local government to safeguard the healthcare in their village. Their main function is social and not medical. Their mission is to identify and refer. As a result, they are well aware of the needs in their village and they can encourage people to come to our gatherings. The Chiefs tells them when we will be coming and uses the days prior to provide information on our visit.
When on outreach it is very important that you have something to offer the population; for example, HIV-test, deworming or vitamin pills. To make the people aware of health issues is only possible when you have something else to offer. We have therefore decided to increase the number of villages that we visit, consequently we visit each village less frequent.
By creating awareness, we hope that the people will start owning their own health and thereby reducing health illiteracy.
In the afternoon, the information sessions are held. One by one people start arriving. In the African way. Only a few are on time. We start with general information on different subjects, meanwhile often good discussions are conducted. At the end, it is time to deworm everybody and to provide the children with the necessary vitamins.
Our ambition is to enlarge the program in the coming years. We want to increase the number of outreaches, thus the number of villages that we visit, thereby reaching more people. Together with the local population we are working on building a stable organization that is important for a large area and for the improvement of the healthcare.
A dream for the future is the operation of our own mobile clinic, which will enable us to increase the number of medical proceedings;
- As clinic for basic healthcare; amongst other things for patients with diarrhea, malaria, respiratory infections, or wounds.
- As consultation office, so that women do not have to travel hours with their baby in their arms.
- As an outdoor clinic for pregnant women to make sure that before giving birth they have received a few medical checks.
We aim therefore is to obtain a mobile clinic with equipment, medication, and medical apparatus to be able to perform these activities.
In addition, TRF wants to provide training in first aid treatments of (fire)wounds, suffocation, and poisoning.
Also, this dream will we realized in close cooperation with the local population.