Nearly 5,500 kilometers in a straight line separates the city of Kikaia (Uganda) and Murcia, a distance that hardly exists when the sun rises in the heart of Africa The World Project and UCAM volunteers wear Catholic University T-shirts, which are already unmistakable to locals and a ray of hope in these latitudes. For the second year in a row, a team of professors from the educational institution headed by Jose Luis Mendoza has given up rest in their daily routine for two weeks to collaborate with the NGO Worldproject on its international mission to set up and equip a clinic and train health workers in the region.
This clinic provides free support and assistance to approximately 15,000 people. If necessary, patients are admitted for a short stay and we have the option of transporting them to the hospital by ambulance,” comments Manuel Luque, President of Worldproject, who is very grateful to UCAM for its resolute support of this cause, which arose in through the impulse and determination of Manuel Pardo, Vice Dean of Certification in Podiatry at this university.It is a 24 hour journey with endless stops, a drive on non-existent roads and even a boat trip on Lake Victoria to get to the Chloe Clinic, where they have fulfilled their mission.
Today, Wednesday, upon their return, they were welcomed by Jerónimo Lagarra, Dean of the School of Medicine, at UCAM, and expressed his appreciation for the initiative of the Worldproject, the commitment of the university professors who have been involved in this cause, and UCAM’s participation in helping others, something we always want to impress. Our students. This particular mission has the added advantage of training the people there so that they have trained staff who can optimally monitor patients, so that they can gradually rely on complete services that have continuity when it comes to caring for their residents.”
Professor Pardo says: “Father Alcaraz (Vice-Chancellor for University Advising and Volunteering at UCAM) encouraged us to join the projects in a way that strengthens relationships and creates real responsibility. And so it happened. When they reached their destination, acquaintance was no longer necessary, as they were received by health workers and patients at Kikaya hugs and is grateful to see the continued commitment to them.
Mutual learning between teachers and health professionals
For Asun Quirante, a medical doctor and professor at UCAM 061, this was the second time she’s been involved and assures it won’t be the last. The training is ongoing and the experience enriches everyone: “One of the most interesting parts is that we see patients side by side with the health workers there and comment on how we handle the case. It is a professional training for them and for us.”
A central part of this year’s work was to provide the clinic with new materials and to train the toilets in their correct use. Catholic University teachers have adapted the clinical simulation classes they teach to their students during the course and taught them basic aspects such as sutures, immobilization, first aid or assisted childbirth and the performance and interpretation of diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms or ultrasounds. Giulio Fenzi, Professor of Nursing, comments: “They have appreciated this training very much because they have proven it can be very beneficial. It is something of great value to them and we know it will be.”
Daphne Granado (physiotherapist), Yasil Barra (doctor) and emergency health technicians, Ruben Gabarone and Gustavo Lopez, also participated in this campaign.
Training and health care
Day after day passes many hours of work to make the most of the hours of sunlight. Efforts had to be divided to locate the new machines that had arrived from Spain, to train the staff of the region, to consult with them to compare diagnoses and to enrich each other, and to continue to improve the conditions of the clinic that is slowly taking over the emergence of a medical center as we understand it in Europe.
Worldproject ONG and UCAM volunteers know that their work is essential so that thousands of people have access to free and decent health care that allows them to have a first reference in the event of an emergency and a position in their environment to attend. Thanks to the ambulance that was equipped last year and the facility provided by the clinic, some cases can be treated in better conditions and even taken to the nearest hospitals, which was unimaginable a few years ago.
The grateful faces of Ugandans say it all and it is the extra energy of the members of this project who, after leaving the comfort of their homes, are clear that they will return, as Asun Quirante comments: “The work is very difficult, but the experience is incredible. The gratitude of the patients and colleagues who work there makes up for everything. My second time there and I’m sure I’ll be back.”
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With memory in Uganda and without losing contact
Members of the expedition arrived in Murcia last night and today resumed their professional and academic activities. Physical fatigue is compensated by the excess energy that the gratitude of the inhabitants of Kikaia imprints. The commitment to return remains in place and contact has not been lost because during the year, health workers at the clinic share experiences and cases with teachers to see how they would handle treatment. The 5,500 km separating the Ugandan clinic from Murcian University fades under the traces of cooperation and hope, a hope that the NGO WorldProject and UCAM have taken to the heart of Africa,
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