Building a Healthy Future for Ugandan Children

08/16/13

The Ugandan children wait anxiously for their medical exam. They aren’t used to going to the doctor so they don’t know what to expect. But when Shannon Carnahan shows them how to place the stethoscope in their ears and then presses the scope to her heart, they quickly forget to be scared.  

                             It’s rare for a child to be seen by a doctor in Uganda because it is so expensive.
 
Shannon and fourteen other medical professionals came to do health assessments of the children and staff members of Children of the Nations (COTN) in Uganda last month. In this part of the world, receiving medical treatment is very expensive and routine checkups are unheard of. “Imagine never knowing what your weight is,” says Lauren Kurz, who led the team, “or how your heart is doing, or what a stomach thing means.”  
 
                        COTN’s nursing staff was thankful for the team’s medical supplies and training.
 
But thanks to medical Venture Teams just like this one, COTN is able to provide this essential care to the children. This team did medical assessments of more than 230 children and staff members during their time in Uganda. 
 
The children and staff were grateful for this valuable information. Their personalized medical files—a standard practice that we take for granted in the United States—showed how the children have progressed since their first medical assessment last year. And in the future, the team knows these files could provide valuable medical history in the event of an emergency.
 
                     The trip wasn’t all work! The team enjoyed dancing, singing, and playing soccer with the children.
 
For now, these checkups helped COTN staff identify children’s immediate needs, brought attention to more serious issues, and gave staff members another way to identify children in bad or abusive family situations. The team also spent time training the COTN nursing staff on how to continue performing and recording medical assessments.
 
                      Sometimes the best way to learn how to brush your teeth is with an oversized mouth and toothbrush!
 
The team then took their medical knowledge into the village of Barlonyo, famous for the massive rebel attack in 2004 that killed hundreds of people. They were overwhelmed by the great need but administered first aid to as many children as possible and explained how to use the thirty medical kits they were leaving behind. “It felt we just put a small Band-Aid on it,” says Shannon, “but what was comforting is that COTN is there transforming the nation.”
 
                                              The team loved spending time with COTN’s Ugandan staff. 
 
Now that the team is back home, they’ve been busy putting together a care package of more medical supplies for the children in Uganda. “This is our hope,” team members Justin and Melissa Stinson wrote on their blog, “to return again, not only to serve the people of Uganda, but to keep our hearts humble and focused on the things God cares for.”
 
Just like this team, you can give a child in need hope and a future. 500 children need sponsors by September 1st. Will you join the movement and Be One? See photos of children waiting for sponsors today.