(Photo by Fabio Costa)
The upsetting thing is: malaria is easily preventable. Unfortunately, hospitals and even clinics are few in many regions of Uganda, and several facilities lack the necessary equipment to treat and diagnose malaria.
In the Mityana region of approximately one million, there are less than 10 clinics. "The nearest hospital is 60 miles away, so really, they're looking at a ratio of 10,000 patients per one doctor," says Brian Anderson with International Aid.
In 2010, Reverend Dr. Stephen Kaziimba, the bishop of the Ugandan diocese of Mityana, visited Buwaata--a district in Kaziimba's diocese--where he noticed a disturbing trend: malaria was killing hundreds per month. In two months, 520 children had died of the disease because the clinics did not possess the equipment to diagnose it.
Through a church contact in Muskegon, Michigan, Kaziimba was able to contact International Aid, who set to work gathering equipment and medicine right away.
By the summer of 2010, Anderson says, "We shipped a container of medical equipment and medicines to Mityana's largest clinic."
The clinic was improved by the shipment to be sure, but International Aid's reach had extended even further than they knew. The clinic was a government-run facility, and when the government caught wind of the high quality of IA's medical equipment and medicines, they were prompted to invest in the clinic, assigning a midwife and laboratory personnel to the health center.
In just a year, the malaria problem in that region was nearly wiped out.
Kaziimba recently reported to IA that "only two or three children had passed away from malaria this year. That's an astounding improvement, compared to 520 reported in two months' time last year."
Even more than this enormous success, however, is the eternal impact the work will have. "The hope of Christ there is presented as a part of treating the patients," explains Anderson. "They're trying to show the love of Christ and the hope of Christ to patients that are being treated."
IA has much more work to do throughout Africa, sending refurbished equipment, "labs in a suitcase," and medicines. Donations of equipment are needed from hospitals, and financial support is needed from anyone who can give. Learn more about helping to meet those needs.