Day 2 Morning – Dr.Tony Rhorer spent a 12 hour grueling day at the hospital with Dr. Sylvester (and his favorite part was that his daughter, Hayley, and her friend, William, joined him). I have yet to hear all the stories because they worked through dinner, but I do know that they spent the morning doing rounds and did 4 surgeries in the afternoon. What is crazy about this day is that this is what it’s like for Dr. Sylvester every day! Dr. Rhorer (and Ken Kobs who was ill yesterday but feeling better) are a true blessing to Lacor Hospital and Dr. Sylvester. Having enough resources to respond to the volume of trauma cases is an ongoing challenge. This used to be due to the war, but now it is due to the number of boda boda (motorcycle) accidents.

The rest of the team visited Soleterre, a nonprofit organization that works for the right to health for everyone. Soleterra is located at Lacor Hospital’s campus. Children with cancer stay at Soleterra which makes it very easy for them to receive treatment and the additional services provided by Soleterra include psychological, social and educational support, economic support (both housing and work development opportunities), and community outreach to destigmatize cancer. They have interesting studies about getting the father or male guardian involved in their child’s treatment plan. When they have a male participate, it improves the success rate of cancer treatment.

Soleterra also emphasizes and teaches healthy eating so our team toured Lacor’s farm and purchased kale, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, and watermelon to donate. We also had fun going to the Gulu market and buying bananas, rice, and posho (cornmeal). The highlight of our time with Soleterra was handing out fidget toys, bouncy balls, and sweets. It was heartwarming to see the kids and their caregivers express so much joy.

Pipeline Worldwide is working on a village ambulance initiative in Moyo. Currently Moyo General Hospital only has two ambulances and usually only one is working. There isn’t a 911 number to call if you have an emergency, the majority of the people don’t own a vehicle or even a bicycle, and the health centers have minimal options to transport a patient to the hospital if needed. Much of the time they have to find a boda boda! So our team visited a 3 wheeler distributor. There is also a fabricator who converts the 3 wheeler into an ambulance which you can see in one of the photos. We plan to meet with the UNHCR later this week to understand the performance of these vehicles and determine next steps.

We hoped that the Iron Donkey (our favorite Gulu cafe) had reopened, but we learned that it was renamed and had new owners. We didn’t get our favorite milkshakes, but we did have a nice meal (see Apollo’s fish) and great conversation. Each team member also shared their day’s saddest and happiest moments and also their highlight thus far. Julie and Donna’s time in the NICU was very sad. There was only one nurse (and an intern for a portion of the time)that looked after 12 sick babies. The room is intentionally extremely hot because they don’t have incubators. They also only had 4 CPAP machines and one of them wasn’t working. There were 4 babies that needed a CPAP machine so the nurse had to decide which baby wouldn’t get one. I can’t imagine!
To end our day’s report on a high note, Jason and Kelly shared their experience touring the hospital workshop. They were so impressed! Lacor has managed to develop systems for water, power, waste treatment, equipment maintenance and repairs… They even have an automotive shop that repairs their vehicles and a carpentry shop that makes their own furniture and crutches. I’m really looking forward to how we can learn from their sustainable model and help implement some of these practices in Moyo.
Another great day!