Manchester Global Health Society and Gulu

A little about Gulu…

dsc_1162Gulu is a town and region in Northern Uganda which has lived through many years of war over the past
century. Its most recent civil conflict lasted 10 years, officially ending in 2008 when
Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army were pushed out of Uganda.

Kony and his army conducted bloody and indiscriminate attacks on the Northern Ugandans, employing brutal tactics of abducting children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Read more...

During this period hundreds and thousands of people were moved into Internally Displaced Person camps (IDPs) for their protection. However these IDPs were overcrowded and its inhabitants suffered from poor sanitation, high levels of disease and were regularly targeted by violent attacks from the LRA. Whilst the communities languished in these camps their farms and landlines were lost, they became disempowered and deskilled and lived in constant fear of attack.

Since the LRA’s expulsion from Uganda these communities have gradually moved back to their homes and started to rebuild their lives. The impact this war has had on Gulu and its surrounding areas has been devastating and many community projects have now grown to focus on the development of the region as it recovers.

 

Manchester Global Health Society and Gulu so far…

The Global Health Society came into contact with Gulu in 2015 through a link between University Hospitals of South Manchester and Gulu University, and subsequently came into contact with the Gulu University Medical Students’ Association (GUMSA). In 2013 GUMSA, in collaboration with the Organisation of Development and Health (ODAH), started a project called the Northern Uganda Villages Health Outreach Project. In 2017, the Manchester Global Health Society continued in its partnership in NUV-HOP and took its second team of students over to participate in the July and August 2017 outreaches.

 

Northern Uganda Villages Health Outreach Project (NUV-HOP)…

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NUV-HOP is an initiative organised and funded by Ugandan, Belgian and Manchester Medical students.

NUV-HOP delivers healthcare services over a period of 2 months (July to August) and conducts 12 outreaches clinics in these two phases. In the second phase health centres are revisited, allowing an opportunity to follow-up patients and provide the community a chance to attend the clinic after hearing about NUV-HOP’s presence in the first phase.

The NUV-HOP team travel to different health clinics and set up health camps to provide a variety of free health services for the day. The students assist and observe local healthcare professionals as they provide these services.Read more...

Free health services

Members of the community are able to see doctors or clinical officers; be tested for Malaria and Hepatitis B; be given appropriate vaccinations; can receive medication.

Along with the team of students and doctors there are several local partner organisations who also participate in NUV-HOP to provide additional health services:

  • The Aids Support Organisation (TASO) provides safe male circumcision
  • Reproductive Health Uganda provide family planning advice, contraceptive services, cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination
  • Youth Alive provide HIV testing and counselling

All of the services provided are free of charge for all patients.

Health education

The students also give health education talks to those that have attended the outreach day. They speak on a number of topics including: Malaria awareness and prevention; HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention; forms of contraception and how to use them; personal hygiene and handwashing; Hepatitis B awareness and prevention; and teenage pregnancy.

Vaccination Follow Up

This year a pilot project was launched to follow up patients’ Hepatitis B vaccination schedules to ensure they were fully immunised. The follow-up initiative was created and funded by the students whilst in Uganda, and is currently being delivered by local healthcare staff to ensure patients have to access to the full course of Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Home and School visits

Students also walk to nearby villages to conduct home visits in order to reach members of the community who are unable to attend the clinic. They assess their hygiene and living environments and give health education based on people’s needs, giving particular focus to common disease prevention and water and sanitation.

Integral to all of the services provided is the advice provided by Communication for Healthy Communities (CHC) in their Obulamu resource which focuses on a patient-centred approach to care.

Shadowing

NUV-HOP also gives students a chance to shadow in the local hospital, allowing students to be exposed to a set of diseases not commonly seen in the UK. The students also gain an insight into different health systems and learn about the difficulties staff and hospitals face in tackling

Host families

During the trip, students stay with local host families. This gives everyone the opportunity to be immersed in the culture and form their own unique bonds with the community in Gulu. Everyone is able to spend time learning about the Acholi language, food and history and the host families really make you feel like you’re a member of their family.

 

Team Gulu 2016…

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The summer of 2016 saw us take our first official team to fully participate in the 6 July outreaches. Led by second year medical student Elizabeth Ogilvie and second year geography student Ellen Rushforth, the team consisted of 6 third year medical students and 2 second year medical students: Caitlin Sheehy, Mark Boyle, Hannah Raval, Evie Hollingworth, Dafydd Stonehewer, Lucy Higgins, Connor Geraghty and Nathalie Rahlenbeck.

 

 

Team Gulu 2017…

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In summer 2017 the second team of Manchester students travelled to Gulu to participate in 8 outreaches during July and August. The team was led again by third year medical student Elizabeth Ogilvie and final year geography student Ellen Rushforth, and the team was made up of 3 first year medical students, two second year students and four third year medical students: Alan, Aram, Jacob Barnaby, Sam Tsui, Kristin Manor, Jessica Singleton, Rebecca Anderson, Evie Hollingworth and Hedda Widlund.

 

 

More Information…

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