Today I started packing up supplies for our trip and was not surprised and incredibly thankful for the generosity of my family, friends and local medical community. Many of the donations (supplies and cash) were made anonymously, so I don't know who you are- but thank you and know that you have just improved the health conditions for a village and it's 1001 children.
I met Sylvia Allen a few years ago (www.sylviaschildren.org) and heard awesome stories of her travels to Mbiriizi School in Uganda. I've heard a lot of people speak from underserved areas and have felt a call to use my medical skills to serve, but this was different. Sylvia spoke about a recent trip to Masaka and showed pictures. She didn't show pictures of malnourished children covered in filth. She told a story about a way of life that is so very different from anything we can imagine here in the United States. She showed pictures of children filled with joy- dancing, playing, laughing. It was a joy that is not derived from "things". I needed to see this for myself. She showed pictures of children learning with very dedicated teachers who persevere despite having slight resources.
Sylvia spoke of her plans- not to send money but to bring skills and resources so that this village can thrive from within, and the children will thrive through education. Sylvia didn't ask for a dime- she simply told a story. I was immediately drawn to her cause. This made sense. We all know in healthcare that prevention is key. Thirty -forty % of the children in this village are infected with HIV. The simple measure of assuring that pregnant women who have HIV are treated with antiretroviral therapy reduces transmission to their child considerably! This can be done! Improving nutrition and hydration can help kids survive other illnesses. This is possible.
We are travelling March 11th to lay the foundation for a clinic which will serve this local community. I am travelling with a team of nurses: JoDee Anderson (Holmdel, NJ), Dora Burke (Chatham, NJ), Betsy Anne Gilbert (Crestwood KY), Joseph Todsico a retired EMT and firefighter (Bay Head, NJ), a fabulous filmmaker who is going to donate his time and resources to capture Sylvia's mission on film and chronicle our journey- Julian Rad (NYC) and the one and only adopted grandmother to 1001 Ugandan children, Sylvia Allen (Holmdel, NJ). We will examine all 1001 children, triage those who need to be transported to the city medical center for more advanced medical care, treat those we can and create written health records with active problem lists for all children to start a program of longitudinal care with health maintenance and prevention as a priority.
I would love for you to see how your generosity is changing lives. Please subscribe to this blog for email updates which will be sent daily from Uganda.