Uganda 2018 – Making a Difference, One Garbage Bag At a Time
They roam the hospital and you see them everywhere you go. Older men clutching their small black garbage bags. If you wear a Medical Missions lanyard, they ask if you can help with their problem. The common malady they all share is an enlarged prostate which prevents them from being able to urinate properly. The bag inside the garbage bag contains urine and the men walk around with catheters all day long. They all beg not to have to carry their garbage bag any longer.
Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is here to do something for these men. His case load this week is full of TURPs: trans-urethral resection of the prostate. It takes about 1 hour, but changes the lives of the men who undergo the operation. Today, I met George. He is a 62 year old father of 9 children. He proudly boasted that all of his children had been educated and 5 had graduated from university. He was grateful that he was able to have the surgery and was excited to travel 110 kms back to his home. Men like George walk for miles to St. Mary’s Lacor Hospital. They have heard about the American doctor who can help them get rid of their garbage bag and the catheter forever. They live in the villages near Gulu or in remote locations. Dr. Pomeroy is the only urologist who travels to this region. He is in Gulu 2 times per year and makes a difference one garbage bag at a time.
Dr. Pomeroy also performed an orchiectomy on a young father named Richard. He is a 24-year-old farmer who heard about the medical mission via a radio announcement. He rode on the back of a boda-boda, a motorcycle taxi, over the back roads of Gulu to get to the hospital. He could have gone home yesterday to his wife and children, but it was not recommended as boda-boda rides are not very comfortable rides. Today, he is being discharged and will return to his family. He is grateful to have been relieved of the pain. He could not afford the surgery so the medical mission was his last hope for healing.
It is our last day on the mission. We have a short day of cases and we repack supplies that will be traveling back to the US. The remainder of our supplies will be donated to the hospital and other local organizations.
After we pack, we will head back to the hotel for a blood drive supporting the Ugandan Red Cross and head to Chobe Lodge tonight. Chobe is a beautiful place on the shores of the Nike River. Saturday will be a relaxing day with a boat ride on the Nile and a safari to see the wonder of Murchison Falls National Park.
On Sunday, we travel back to Kampala. We will be hosted by Honorable Reagan Okumu and his wife, Jane, at their home for a short break before we travel back to the US. Reagan is the elected representative of the Gulu District and a high ranking member of their parliament. He and Jane facilitate our travels in Uganda and help insure our safe travels. They are a critical component of our successful mission. We are grateful for their support.
Our mission here in Uganda is concluded for 2018, but the need remains. There will be a need to come back and continue to provide care for the men and women who live in Gulu.
Thanks to everyone who help make this mission a success. There are too many people to list here. We have interpreters who help us communicate with our patients, drivers, program assistants, hotel staff, hospital administrators, nurses, students and other people who support our group.
Thanks also to our Medical Missions staff. They helped with travel arrangements and credentials for our clinicians. They managed our finances, posted our photos and blogs and filled in wherever we needed. We could not do this mission without them.
Finally, thanks to all of you who support our missions through your donations of supplies, skills, and funds. We could not successfully execute these missions without our friends, family and donors who give us the the resources and support we need to succeed.
To volunteer for Medical Missions Foundation either as medical or non-medical personnel, we encourage you to complete a volunteer interest form. This is not a commitment, but simply a way to express your interest!
To support Medical Missions Foundation, donations can be made online 24/7 or sent by mail to 8363 Melrose Drive, Lenexa, KS 66214.
To donate medical supplies, see our needed supply list.