Most NOTDEC Uganda kids are fit and healthy
Immunization helps keep them that way!
Here children are being immunized against polio. Afterwards, their little finger nail is marked with a red felt pen — so they don't get two doses!
Simpler preventative measures are important too...
... like head-shaving to prevent nits, mosquito nets to combat malaria, and even daily bathing!
NOTDEC Uganda isn't without its risk factors ...
There's playing barefoot in the dirt — look at the colour of that water! Then there's cooking outdoors where toddlers toddle, house-mothers cutting the children's nails Ugandan-style with a naked razor blade, the occasional snake, and more. But, in the UK, we eat too much, drink too much, and break the speed limit — so we can't point the finger!
NOTDEC Uganda's Casebook
With 120+ children, it's inevitable there'll be a few problems ... To respect each child's privacy, we won't show photographs of their illnesses and ailments, nor reveal their names. But we do want to give you an idea of the kinds of issues that NOTDEC Uganda has to tackle.
"A" has epilepsy. While living with his family his foot was severely burnt — but remained untreated. By the time he arrived at NOTDEC Uganda, the wound was healing but scar tissue had forced his big toe to lie underneath his foot. The plastic surgeon consulted by NOTDEC Uganda said the only treatment was amputation of the toe. This, "A" has refused. NOTDEC (Uganda & UK) respects his decision.
When the main house-mother was in hospital, "B" spilled hot porridge over herself. The acting house-mother had realized the porridge was too hot and had gone to the kitchen to get some milk to cool it. "B" grabbed the cup and pulled it towards herself.
Badly cut toe
Playing barefoot, "C" cut his fourth toe — the second littlest. The cut was very deep, almost removing the top digit, so the foot had to be heavily padded, with a plaster somewhere underneath it all. The outsized protection helped keep the plaster on — and dirt out!
Each child's head is shaved regularly to prevent lice. Shaving off "D"'s hair revealed white rings: ringworm — easily treated once you know it's there.
Large lesions covered "E"'s knee and a fungal infection was suspected. Regular treatment with an appropriate cream substantially reduced the problem, but more localized sores erupted on both legs. Was it bacterial? The treatment was changed. But the sores persisted — the worst, unsightly and painful. An anti-inflammatory cream was tried. Immediately, "E" was more comfortable. Soon, she was "on the mend".
In Sum ...
Most health issues at NOTDEC Uganda are well within the capabilities of the house-mothers, visiting volunteers and a part-time nurse. However, there are certainly challenges, and areas needing improvement. For example, over the years too many kids have been admitted to Kagando Hospital with malaria, and NOTDEC Uganda could do much better there - and indeed more generally. Of course, that's even truer in most of rural Uganda, where health education and understanding of hygiene still have a very long way to go. By these standards, NOTDEC Uganda already isn't at all bad. But we want it to be among the very best.
Here, NOTDEC Uganda has achieved a real coup in securing the services of Doreen, an experienced Kagando paediatric nurse. At the time of writing, NOTDEC UK volunteer and retired surgeon Anthony Johnston has recently met Doreen for the first time, and he is impressed by her abilities and the difference she has made. As a local Ugandan Doreen can communicate in the local culture and show how to improve hygiene and care: house-mothers listen to her advice in a way they might not to advice from westeners. This is the way forward for NOTDEC Uganda.