Thursday, October 25, 2018

Passion and Smiles

By Nampiima Maria Gorret, Program Coordinator

It took a few minutes, but she did finally smile. And once she started, she didn’t stop.

Joyce was shy when we first started to discuss her situation, but it didn’t last long because her passion for the subject could not be stifled.

Her journey with fistula started more than 20 years ago when she encountered issues during childbirth in Lugazi. Joyce now understands that the complications arose because she delayed to go to the hospital, which she didn’t realize at the time. She somberly recounts how the health workers tried to resuscitate her baby, but were unsuccessful. Aside from the weight of loss, Joyce also began battling constant incontinence.

Upon returning home from the hospital, little did she know her troubles were only just beginning. She noticed the discrimination from her community immediately, but the separation from her family was slower to set in. It wasn’t until she and her husband began sleeping in separate beds did she realize the depth of her situation.

Determined, Joyce began to seek treatment for herself; multiple visits to various hospitals did not furnish results. Each location quoted her enormous amounts of money to provide the treatment she needed, a price out of reach for Joyce and her family of subsistence farmers. She fell into a deep despair aggravated by the isolation and mockery she experienced in her community. And then one day there was a ray of light.

On the radio, she heard an advertisement for the very treatment she was seeking! A week later, in her nicest gomesi, she set out on a journey to Kamuli Mission Hospital. Joyce received successful treatment and she did not hide her joy. She danced and sang and hugged anyone who was close to her. She was elated.

Joyce will soon graduate from UVP’s extended reintegration program and has dreams to start her own business in her home community. “It has been a life changing opportunity,” Joyce says. It’s clear that from her lengthy experience that Joyce maintains a deep passion for obstetric fistula prevention.

Do you have a deep passion for preventing fistula like Joyce? Be part of the solution today! Joyce's story has been used with her permission. 

My Village has Transformed

by Josephine Asio, Program Coordinator

Moses during our interview, holding notes
from a meeting he just attended.
Despite the many people attending prayers at the mosque next door, we were able to manage a quiet conversation in Moses’ compound. The peaceful scene was the perfect setting for our sensitive conversation.

Next to Moses’ compound in Bulondo there is a swamp and a sugar cane field. One of these brings income; the other brings heartache. One day, Moses’ wife came to him with good news: she was pregnant with their sixth child. They were elated! She immediately went to the health center to begin antenatal care. Things were progressing well until around four months.

Being so close to the swamp, Moses and his family constantly battle a vicious cycle of malaria, which keeps them from attending school and work. In addition to the reduced income Moses receives when he cannot work due to the illness, medical expenses strain the family’s finances, which make paying for mosquito nets challenging. Then, due to a particularly nasty bout of malaria, Moses’ wife suffered a miscarriage. Their little savings was drained to pay medical expenses for her treatment. Moses felt trapped.

As an avid supporter of UVP, Moses helps
to mobilize community members to attend
outreaches, sometimes directly from the car!
Then, he learned that UVP was providing reduced-cost mosquito nets and he immediately jumped at the opportunity, buying one for his wife and another for his two smaller children. Eventually, as the medical costs reduce, he was able to afford 2 more nets so every member of his family was protected during the night.

As the chairman of his village, Moses knows that he acts as an ambassador for good health, and he is happy to fulfill this role. He also knows that improving the health of his village takes a group effort: from the leaders in his community, to his neighbors, to UVP staff, and to the financial supporters who take health seriously.

“My village has slowly transformed,” Moses says, “I am grateful to UVP as a person who has directly benefited from this organization.”

Do you have a deep passion for preventing malaria? Join the movement to approach poverty through health prevention!