AMG looks to partner and expand medical outreach in Uganda

By May 17, 2011

Uganda (MNN) — In the United
States, the nurse-to-patient ratio is roughly 1:25. Compare that to Uganda's nurse-to-patient
ratio of 1:5000, and it seems like there is a dearth of nurses in the country.

It was that statistic that
prompted Christian International School of Healthcare Professions to launch a
fact-finding team in Uganda to see if they could meet a need.

The seed was planted when CISHP
purchased a nursing home from AMG International and discovered the scope of the
ministry. Goals and ideals seemed to be
moving in the same direction. CISHP's Administrator, Dr. Carolyn Farrell agrees. "Perhaps
with our nursing school, we could impact AMG's mission opportunities or their
mission endeavors. At the present time, they don't actually have any training for professionals but are desperately in
need of professionals to manage and to work in their clinics and hospitals."

From there, AMG expressed an
interest in broadening the medical clinic to include a nursing training program;
it seemed a ready-made story to put the two together. Ferrell says, "Rather than just being able to
treat people, if we can train individuals in those particular countries to
minister to their own people, what greater service is that?"

Along with Ferrell, AMG's
President Paul Jenks was joined by Uganda director, Reuben Musiime, and CISHP's
Vice Chancellor, Gary Parker, to see how feasible it would be to join
the programs in Uganda. 

Where to start? The challenges were already presenting
themselves.

A presidential inauguration
taking place as the team arrived in the country bore the risk of protests and
riots, as well as closed government offices should things go awry. The risk was that the team would run out of
time during the visit, without having contacted the right people.

However, the swearing in was
completed without incident, and Kampala stayed calm…which meant the government
offices would be open the following day. Then, it turns out that AMG
Uganda's national director, Reuben Musiime, has a brother in the Ministry of
Health. He used his contacts and got
the team an appointment to meet with an oversight official. From there, other doors started opening.

That initial meeting revealed two
important things: first, Uganda's urban
centers already have too many nurses, many of whom are unemployed. However, the Ministry of Health indicated three
areas where they could use a training program: midwifery, anesthetics, and
qualified teachers.  

The second revelation, notes
Ferrell, is this: "There does seem to be
significant interest in having outside countries and entities outside
Uganda to help solidify the infrastructure, to position Uganda more prominently
in the future."

A national partner would help
convince the government of the infrastructure value. AMG happens to have a
medical clinic in Bugongi called the Hope Medical Center. Midwife
services and maternity care are available at this medical center, which is the
only available medical care in rural Bugongi and for miles around, making it
a perfect partnering candidate for a new nursing program. 

The idea caught on, and soon the Ministry of
Health was paving the way for the team to meet with the Ministry of
Education. That meeting led to another
meeting with the registrar
of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council.

In the end, there was a clear
need for a program, and a proposal from CNA will get the ball rolling. Ferrell explains that this is the first step
toward putting some shape around the dream of a nursing program in Uganda. "Definitely in the future, they want to know
who we are, what we stand for, what our plan is and how we plan to implement
that particular plan."

Much like the Upendo Christian
School, it may seem the road toward seeing this dream come to fruition may be
full of obstacles, but it's a great opportunity to share not only their education
expertise, but also the Gospel. "Our mission and vision is very clear that
not just as healthcare workers, but as people, we are the hands and feet of Jesus
showing compassion toward fellow man."

Keep praying. The possibilities are exciting for a partnership
between AMG Uganda, Christian International School of Healthcare Professionals,
and the rural communities of Bugongi. 

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