REPORT ON THE GRAND OPENING OF ST. RAPHAEL HEALTH CENTER
NOVEMBER 2, 2014
SSFOHStepping Stones Foundation of Hope DHODistrict Health Office LCLocal Council (area local leaders) NGONon Government Organization HCHealth Center TCTown Council
The Stepping Stones Foundation of Hope (SSFOH) is a Not-for-profit Non-Government Organization (NGO) with operations both in the United States and Uganda. On November, 2 2014; a health center was opened up to support health services delivery in one of the underserved rural communities around Bunnamweri village in Mpigi District, Uganda
SSFOH is founded on the pillars including Spirituality, Education and Health service delivery. The goal is to offer support to less privileged communities who would never dream of an education in any form and quality health support especially in rural areas in Uganda. Currently, major operations are Kakoola and Bunnamweri villages in Mpigi District.
Mpigi District is located in Central Uganda bordered by Wakiso, Kalangala, Kalungu, Butambala, and Mityana districts. It is a located about 40 kilometers from Kampala city – about 40 minutes drive in free traffic. It has eight Sub counties including Mpigi Town Council, and 34 Health centers including UCMB’s Nkozi Hospital and a government owned Hospital. The HC IV is located in Mpigi Town Council and acts as the main referral Unit for this district because it is the highest level Government-aided facility in this district. The next best referrals are Gombe Hospital (30km from Mpigi TC), Nkozi Hospital (60km from Mpigi TC) and Mulago National Referral Hospital (35km away).
Bunnamweri and Kakoola villages are also located within Mpigi TC. However, to assume that all is well with health service delivery because of their vicinity is to assume too much. The volumes of patient turn up are enough to introduce one of the worst delays in health service delivery – the delay in administering care while at the HC. Therefore, to address this delay and the other delay related to the distance between the client and the health facility, SSFOH made it its objective to support Health service delivery in these areas by setting up a health center at a convenient location. The rationale was to have the facility offer quality primary to these areas which would otherwise be a far-fetched dream.
Therefore, SSFOH, for the last two years has set up different structures to support this objective. In September this year, with authority from the Mpigi District Health Office and Health Inspectorate division, the foundation was cleared to open up a health center II in Kakoola village. The grand opening took place on November 2, 2014.
To officially open up SSFOH’s St. Raphael Health Center II in Kakoola Village, Mpigi District.
The major activities of the day were coordinated by the SSFOH Board in Uganda with the help of the District Health Inspectorate, area local leaders and the SSFOH family.
Mass was presided over by Rev. Fr. Stephen Kiggundu – who also doubled as the Chief Guest. He officiated over the day’s major activities including being the main celebrant at Holy Mass and officially opening up and blessing the health unit. School children under SSFOH’s education support plan formed the day’s choir.
The day was colored by the presence of Mr. Edward Kisiki who represented the District Health Office as well as the District area representative women and youth Councilors, area Chairperson, the staff and Headmaster of Kakoola Modern Primary School and Parishioners from Kakoola and Bunnamweri villages. Also present were all the staff of the health center and the SSFOH board and family.
In his Homily and Speech, the Chief Guest emphasized the need to utilize as well as safeguard the health unit. He challenged the parishioners to own the unit and give it protection and direction. He emphasized the link between life as a gift from God and the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle as show of God’s saving hand in our daily life. This, he said, was one of the many reasons God permits health workers to act on his behalf in treating humanity and maintaining the health of mankind. He cautioned against laxity in utilizing as well as safeguarding the unit’s facilities as a means of ensuring continuity of health service delivery in the area.
The area local leaders thanked SSFOH for supporting the health needs of the people in the area and pledged full cooperation when required. They highlighted the effort that resulted in increasing and improving access to education and clean water in the area as well as the ultimate and current service of St. Raphael Health Center.
The headmaster – Kakoola Modern Primary School – on behalf of the area parents and teachers thanked all the persons who work hard to ensure that the education and health needs of others far away are addressed. He noted that the school did not have a resident nurse and that the health center, being close, will come in handy in addressing this need on behalf of the school. He also reiterated the need for community ownership of the projects mediated by SSFOH. He pledged more commitment and support on behalf of the parishioners, parents, students and teachers of Kakoola Modern Primary School and surrounding areas.
The SSFOH-Uganda Board Chairman, Mr. Francis Bazzekuketta, thanked all parishioners for their kind gesture of attending the grand opening and their continued support to the organization's activities. He pledged to work harder and do better for the sake of the community and towards addressing and delivering better services within the three pillars of the foundation (spirituality, education and health). He introduced the Board and team of the SSFOH family that contributed towards the setting up and opening of the health center. He asked that all beneficiaries continue to support the foundation and their fellow citizens to ensure progress and a better future for their children.
The day’s activities ended with luncheon for invited guests.
CHALLENGES AND APPROACHES TAKEN TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES
Time management: All activities were scheduled to start by 9:00 am with Holy mass. Parishioners arrived almost 30 minutes beyond the scheduled start causing a delay. However, due to this 30 minutes delay, all activity timing was rescheduled with a 30 minute plus timing.
Lunch: This was served to only 35 selected guests. This was not well received because parishioners expected a feast following the opening ceremony. We planned and executed what we had within the means at our disposal. We explained this to the parishioners and I am hoping they understood and took it up in good faith.
CONCLUSION AND WAY FORWARD
The grand opening was achieved within the set means and timing. This, we can conclude, was a success. We are hoping to offer services through this unit and expand the primary services to include more sophisticated medical services as we grow bigger.
We are grateful for the SSFOH board in the US for all support rendered to making this dream project possible. Our prayers and wishes for more abundant blessings from God are with all benefactors and patrons of the spiritual, educational and health pillars of the foundation.
God bless you all.
BERNARD LUBWAMA, MPH
HEALTH AND PUBLICITY SECRETARY – SSFOH UGANDA