Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ACF Member leads Dental Missions to Uganda

In June of 2003, Dr. Paul Musherure was invited by a fellow Dentist, Dr. John Sexton of Arvada Colorado, to a mission trip to Romania.   The team spent one week working at an Orphanage treating many children who would otherwise not have access to decent Dental treatment.   Seeing the difference their visit made in the lives of the Orphans, Dr. Musherure was convinced that the children of Uganda would benefit from a similar program, especially some of the orphans receiving treatment for HIV+/AIDS.   He had earlier made a deal with Dr. Sexton that if he joined in the trip to Romania, he too will accompany Dr. Musherure on a similar trip to Uganda.
In October 2003 the promise was fulfilled, and Dr. Sexton along with 6 others from Colorado joined Dr. Musherure on an initial exploratory trip to Uganda.   After visiting several orphanages and treatment centers, the group chose the Mildmay Center  for their program.   Mildmay is a Christian non-profit organization headquartered in the United Kingdom that runs outpatient hospitals/centers providing care and training to HIV/AIDS patients, as well as training to healthcare professionals in many locations around the world.   Since this facility already treats Aids/HIV patients, it seemed an ideal place to provide the care to the target group they were looking for.   In February 2004 Dr. Musherure and a team of 16 people organized the first Dental Clinic at the Mildmay clinic, and were able to treat about 300 children.   Every year since 2004 Dr. Musherure has led a team of medical personel and other volunteers to this clinic in Uganda, and over 3,000 children have been treated as a result of this ministry.   The composition of the team has changed over the years as the team from Colorado has dropped off but several others have joined in the effort.

A collaborative approach
The Ugandan Dental Missions project is a true partnership between the medical team from the United States and local medical professionals in Uganda.   By the time the team from the United States arrives, the Ugandan team has already laid the ground work of publicity, setting up equipment, and any necessary advance preparation so that once the group from the United States arrives they can hit the ground at full speed.   This collaborative approach makes for greater efficiency during their usual 10 days of direct patient care.   At the conclusion of the ten days, the America team returns home while the Ugandan team continues with patient follow-up.

Over the years, more than 3,000 children have been treated at this free clinic.   This project is partially funded by the volunteers each of whom has to raise funds for their travel and maintenance cost.   In addition, several generous benefactors from Michigan have underwritten the expense of their effort.   More recently several others have joined in as sponsors, including Dr. Musherure's Home Church, Crossroads Church in Cottage Grove Minnesota.Klick here for more photos of January 2011 dental missions.


Fort Portal in Uganda
After the first week of missions work in Kumi, the   missions’ team held two activities in Kampala on August 7, before travelling to Fort Portal, the second site of the summer missionary work.
Leadership/Pastors Training:
The ACF leaders had one day leadership training at the Good News Ministry Church. The conference was organized by the Good News Ministry Church where Pastor Solomon Mwesige is the senior pastor.    The conference was attended by pastors and church leaders from Good News Ministry Church and several other churches.
The training covered various aspects of church leadership and management including: why some churches grow, leadership concepts such as traits, ability, relationship, leadership skills in the church etc; signs of leadership potential, biblical leaders, styles of leadership in the church, church strategic planning, and resource management.
In the area of resource management, we talked about church budget and financial management. We emphasized that when church leaders don’t manage their personal finances well, it may lead to financial abuse in the church. The discussion on budgeting and personal financial planning led to a lengthy discussion based on questions from church leaders present on family planning and budgeting. It was determined that several church members in Uganda have between five to eleven children while their incomes are very meager. The instance of large families means that if there is a disaster such as loss of the father, mother, or both through war, diseases, or any other life event, the children are left very vulnerable.

Lunching of ACF Kampala Office:
The day was a busy day for the ACF Mission team.   The ACF Kampala lunched their office in the evening.
There were singing, dancing, refreshments, ribbon cutting of the ACF Kampala Office and the dedication of musical equipment purchased by ACF Missions Inc. Some representatives from the community attended the launching, and had a walk through of the office after the official opening.

Missions to Fort Portal:
The next day, August 8, the Mission team left for Fort Portal in the western part of Uganda. It was a six to seven hour drive from Kampala.

Meeting with ACF Sponsored Children:
The team had an all day conference with all the ACF sponsored children in the Fort Portal area.   The children looked fantastic. They looked well groomed, fed, and totally different from other children we met either in Kumi or other schools we visited in Fort Portal area.
At the conference in Fort Portal, one of the young adults from ACF East Region, Sister Chichi Ebiringa preached a powerful message that got to the heart of all in attendance.   Several of the sponsored hildren gave their lives to Christ.

Academic Success:
It was refreshing to see several of the ACF sponsored children who have excelled academically. Some with academic distinctions, grade 1, and grade 2s in the Ugandan national exams.

Counseling sessions:
The mission team along with the ACF Kampala team, and graduates of the ACF Child Sponsorship Programs had one-on-one counseling session with all the students currently in the program.   The goal was to determine how the students are doing at home, at school, and where they are spiritually.   They were prayed for individually.
It was determined that several that live in the boarding school have most of their challenges during vacations because ACF sponsorship program does not cover home expenses during vacation.   Some of them have challenges getting food to eat or personal care items such as female hygiene items, tooth paste etc.

School Visits:
On our second day in Fort Portal, we visited various primary and secondary schools where ACF sponsored children go to school.   We met with school administrators and in some cases with teachers.   Overall, the schools reported that our children are doing well academically and have good behavior except few who had behavior problems. One of the ACF boys in secondary school was expelled for rioting with other boys.   A few of the schools complained about school fees for the sponsored children being paid late. They asked ACF to ensure that school fees are paid on time to avoid expelling the children from school.

Visit to Government Officials:
On the same day of our visit to the schools, we also visited the office of the district health officer of Fort Portal.   We met with the Health Education Officer and a Health Inspector.   We shared with them ACF health programs in the Kigarama.   They provided us with guidelines of the various types of health center certificates that ACF can get.

Medical Missions in Kigarama:
We had two days of medical outreach in Kigarama, Kabaroli District of Western Uganda.   Data for the Kabarole district shows poor health and development indicators, including high Infant and child mortality (86/1000), maternal mortality ratio (498/1000), doctor patient ratio (1:19,179), HIV/AIDS prevalence rate (1315%), adolescent pregnancy rate (35%) etc.
The two days medical outreach in Kigarama was at the ACF Health Center.   The turnout of the villagers was quite high.   There was not enough room in the ACF Health Center to accommodate all the patients.   Several of them had to sit outside in the heat of the sun.
As a result of the large turnout, we ran out of medications.   We were forced to use money budgeted for food for the people to buy more medicines.   We were therefore able to feed the people for only one day instead of two days.

Community Leadership Meeting & Health Center Inspection:
On the second day of the medical missions, the ACF team met with the community leaders of Kigarama including district councilors (equivalent to US state assembly officials), local councilors, pastors and other leaders in the community.   The community leaders were challenged to step up and take actions about various challenges facing the community including high rate of promiscuity leading to high HIV/AIDs, child marriages with children in elementary and secondary schools getting married thereby perpetuating high poverty rates, lack of water in the community etc.   The ACF East Region Missions director asked the community leaders to be servant leaders for their community. The community leaders accepted the challenge of assisting ACF to make the health center a success.   The district councilor agreed to lobby the district health department to contribute either in medicine or staff to the ACF Health Center.    He also asked the community leaders to assist ACF with the security of the health center.
While the meeting was going on, health inspectors from the district health department arrived at the ACF Health Center.   The health inspectors joined the meeting and shared with the community the expectations of the district health department.   Overall, the health inspectors were impressed with the ACF buildings and the progress made so far.   They had few minor recommendations which our building engineer will have to correct on the property.   They suggested that one of the ACF buildings could be made a maternity center because the nearest health center was about seven kilometers away and difficult for village pregnant women to reach.

Tour of ACF Land and Agricultural Project:
Towards the end of the second day of medical missions, we had a tour of the ACF property (close to fifteen acres) where the health center is located. The land is huge and amazingly very fertile with natural water flowing at one end of the land. Almost every crop grows well on the land.
The ACF Kampala had a trial farm on the property and the trial came out very successful. The area has three planting seasons. An investment of $2,000 in farming (corn and cassava) yielded close to $6,000 within one year.    The return on the investment was used to offset other ACF mission expenses in Uganda.  There is a suggestion for ACF to raise some money for farming in the land that can reduce the financial requests from the Uganda office to ACF Missions inc.


The Summer Missions’ trip to Uganda took place between July 30 and August 14, 2010.   The Seven team members from the United States came from the different chapters in ACF USA, Eastern Region (Baltimore, Northern New Jersey, Pittsburg and Washington D.C. chapters).   They were joined on the ground by ACF Uganda, including the young adults in ACF Kampala and ACF Kumi. ACF has two missionary sites in Uganda, the Fort Portal area in western region and Kumi in the eastern region of the country. The team went first to the site in Kumi district.

School Visit:
The team visited schools attended by ACF sponsored children the first two days of the trip.   During the visit, the team with the school authority, reviewed the academic records of the sponsored children, and received situation reports on each child. The team provided counseling to the children based on the report received from the school authority. Most of the children are doing well academically and in their Christian lives. However, a few of them are struggling with their studies while others have behavioral problems. ACF is working with the school authorities and the coordinators of our program to address the problems.
The conditions of students in one of the schools the team visited were very deplorable.   More than 75 percent of the students wore torn school uniforms and were on bare foot.   The team was informed that a good number of the students were sick.   The team being moved with compassion contributed money on the spot and gave to the school to buy uniform for about 27 students with worst condition.

Personal Witnessing:
Leading a young man to faith in Christ JesusPersonal evangelism is an important part of ACF missions’ activity. It provides all the missionaries especially the young adults and youths the experience of sharing their faith with others. On the second day of school visit, some team members especially the young adults,
organized market evangelism.  The young adults came back with awesome testimonies of how the Spirit of God revealed to them some issues in the lives of the people they witnessed to, and how many of them gave their lives to Christ during the outreach.
Medical Outreach:
The next two days were used for medical outreach in Totolim village in the Panaka sub-county of Kumi district. The team went with five medical doctors and five nurses including a pharmacist that came with the U.S. team. According to report from community leaders and the residents, the outreach was the first of its kind in the community. There are no social services in the community, including pipe-borne water supply and medical services.   The only borehole that serves the entire community is several miles away. Consequently, greater part of the community depends on the nearby river for water supply.   The crowd that came after the first day of the medical outreach was so overwhelming that the team ran out of medical supply and drugs. The team ended up giving out clothing to those that were not able to see the doctors and receive medication.

The health conditions of the people in the community are so deplorable that one literally sees expression of pain and misery on the faces of the adult and children.   Skin diseases were prevalent. In addition, many of the adults counseled during the outreach complained of pain, coughing blood and urinating blood. As a result of the deplorable situation, the ACF Mission Director after the first day of the outreach, lost appetite and could not eat till the following day.   But the consolation of the whole situation was that ACF was able to make a difference in this community that seems to have been abandoned by everyone.   God used ACF to put smiles on the faces of the elderly men and women who came for the medical outreach. Many people gave their lives to Christ during the counseling session, and one of the team members confessed that he won more souls to Christ during this outreach than he has done for his entire 20 years in the United States.
Visit to the Government Officials:
The team was able to visit government offices, especially the District Health officer’s office for preliminary discussion on the construction of a medical clinic in the Kamenya sub-county in Kumi district.    The community had provided a piece of land to ACF for construction of a medical clinic during the 2008 summer mission’s trip. During the discussions, the District Health Officer and the team agreed that ACF will conduct a feasibility study for the project to address all the government and ACF concerns, before construction could be commenced.

Monday, February 14, 2011

ACF Medical Missions reloaded!!!!

Africa Christian Fellowship is looking for Medical professional Volunteers across the Globe to serve in our medical facilities, partner Government medical facilities, Orphanages, Schools, and Churches. Our major target population is the rural and urban poor with limited or no access to health care. We strive to uplift the health status of the less privileged in specific rural areas of Uganda.

Way You Can Serve:
Serving Opportunities while in Uganda will include: surgeries, dental care, eye care, physical therapy, consultations, distribution of medications, house calls, HIV counseling and testing for clients, training of local health workers and providers teaching students, residents, and practicing physicians in hospitals, mentoring on a long term basis and teaching primary care skills to leaders in rural villages. Besides, you will have also an opportunity to take part in the mission’s spiritual program of daily prayer, door-to-door evangelization visits.
Project Country: UgandaProject Region: Africa
Project Sub-Region: East Africa
Medical Volunteers Tenure: Short & Long Term
Group Limits: 10-30 (All year round)
Individual Volunteers: No Limitations (All year round)
Daily living costs: US$30-50 (accommodation, feeding, local field transport costs, miscellaneous items)
Age: 18 and above