Isaiah 49:6b "I will also make you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the very ends of the earth."
The annual Medical Mission outreach to Lyantonde for 2009took place from the 26th to 28th of January 2009. This was the 3rd UBF free medical camp in Lyantonde, Uganda. This year there was a great increase in the number of volunteers. From Korea, 21 people including Physician(Dr. Hana Kim), General surgeon(Dr. Byungchol Kim), Pediatricians(Dr. David Park, Dr. Joseph Ahn), Orthopedic surgeons(Dr. Luke Jung, Dr. Yoonhong Kim), Oncologist(Dr. Chiyoung Park), Family doctor (Dr. Changgyu Oh) and Dentist (Dr. Inhan Yoon) participated. From Germany, Cardiologist (Dr. Samuel Lee), Pediatrician (Dr. Titus Keller) and Dentist (Dr. Maria Keller) joined the team. From the USA, Senior Consultant Pediatrician from Chicago UBF (Dr. Joseph Chung), ICU nurse from Indiana (Younse Wert) and Dentist (Dr. Sam Zun), Family Medicine Specialist (Dr. Hannah Zun) from Cincinnati participated. The Ugandan team was comprised of Pediatricians(Dr. Luke Lim, Dr. Lilian Ogwang), Chest Physician(Dr. Samuel Yoo), Oncologist(Dr. Abraham Omoding), Anesthesilogist(Dr. Spekcy Mbula), Pharmacist (Patrick Ogwang) and other support staffs who made sure that everyone in need got the help needed.
On January 25th, 2009, all the medical personnel and the support coworkers embarked on the 2009 medical outreach visit to Lyantonde organized by the University Bible Fellowship and ICOD, a Lyantonde based community NGO. It was quite comforting that some members of the team had attended one or both of the previous outreaches. Due to the gradually strengthening bond between the UBF outreach team and the community in Lyantonde, the degree of involvement went far beyond mere short medical volunteerism and has over time developed into a long-term collaboration. Needless to say, the UBF team was happy to contribute to this growing relationship in yet another way. On the first day, Dr. Titus Keller from UBF Germany taught many of the waiting patients at Lyantonde hospital about HIV/AIDS, its spread and treatment after infection. This was very well received by waiting patients and curious onlookers.
Within the span of 3 days, the team performed 20 operations - all under the conditions rivaling the most hardened of any surgical field hospital, where the lack of running water, working surgical lights, and functioning instruments created an additional element of difficulty. Most of the procedures consisted of providing relief to the patients with gigantic goiters and hernias, tumors, burn scars. However, since surgical care has always been hard to come by in many district hospitals of Uganda, and Lyantonde was no exception to this rule, the operative log covered a multitude of problems that required surgical intervention. Despite all of the challenges mentioned above, most operations went as smoothly as expected, with all patients doing well.
HOPE The growth of the medical mission ministry in UBF started as a small outreach ministry. But over the last three years there has been a great increase in the number of personnel willing to come and participate. This year even artist was part of the team and did face painting. It is hoped that the mission will go beyond offering medical services but will attract professionals from water and sanitary engineers, construction specialists, agricultural extension workers and many others. There was great work of God among participants. God opened their spiritual eyes and touched their hearts that many participants made decision of faith to join mission field in near future. Though it was short period to experience mission field, they saw the reality and necessity of mission field. May God use them preciously for His redemptive work in His time. This year more Ugandan UBF members joined medical mission. Many of them are medical professionals so they could serve Ugandans with their knowledge and skills. Ultimately, it is the most desirable that Ugandans serve their own people. Many members experienced unutterable joy when they served the sick. It was a time for practical teaching of Jesus' love and to serve the needy for Ugandan UBF brethren. It was also a wonderful fellowship opportunity between Ugandan brethren and coworkers from abroad. They shared their feelings and prayer topics together. Subsequently they could realize that they were one in Jesus Christ and precious coworkers for God's work.
Unfortunately many patients especially the elderly couldn't be helped due to a lack of specialists. It is hoped that future outreaches will encompass ophthalmologist so that some of these services may be covered. Furthermore UBF chapters from around the world made a Christmas offering in 2007 to help HIV/AIDS orphans in Uganda. Through collaborating with FOCUS (Fellowship of Christian Unions) Mulago Children Project, UBF plans to support them. There are many HIV orphans and vulnerable children in Lyantonde district. 2007 UBF Christmas offering will be used to help them this year.
COMMENTS Dr Titus Keller from Koln UBF lamented the lack of basic knowledge and facilities at the hospital. He reiterated the call of the other doctors that there is more that needs to be done in terms of creating awareness and education on basic health issues. In the pediatric clinic, the services included the monitoring and evaluation of malnourished infants, multivitamin supplementation, mass deworming and information and education campaign on health and nutrition. Dr. Keller said they found out that the most prevalent disease of children here were acute respiratory infection and skin infection. According to Dr. Park Chi Young from Kwangju UBF III, most of the adults suffered from acute respiratory infection and arthritis such as rheumatism and degenerative osteo-arthritis. Dr. Hannah Kim from Kwangju UBF I , was very excited at the opportunity of being able to volunteer this year. She had a mixed reaction to the whole experience. She said she was happy but sorry. She said "I was extremely happy to be part of this team this year but I saw there are too many patients. I witnessed first hand that even with limited drugs, there can still be a difference!" Dr. Maria Keller from Koln UBF seemed to reecho the same sentiment. She said "there was no time to educate the people about oral hygiene because the patients were too many. May be we should plan for this on our next visit"
Dr. Samuel Zun, UBF medical mission director lauded the efforts of all the doctors and volunteers. He hinted that in the future, a complete hospital will be established to train Ugandans locally to help their people instead of doctors having to come here each year. He said "Uganda has excellent potential to carry on this work. All that is needed is the will, stewardship and responsibility to accomplish the great task ahead of helping the most vulnerable in every way" Dr. Joseph Chung from Chicago UBF was also optimistic that even though the state of the health conditions is still deplorable, there is hope. He said, "About 50 years ago, Korea was even in a worse situation than Uganda currently is. All that is needed is a huge education drive to make people aware of how to avoid disease" Dr. Samuel Lee, a cardiologist from Koln UBF commented that the medical mission should not be like 'a drop of water on a hot stone'. He said that even though follow up of patients after such medical missions is difficult and limited diagnostic facilities, community leaders and community people should be educated on basic health care. Dr. David Park, Kwangju UBF III director, recognized the need to send more surgeons, dentists and tropical medicine specialists in the future. He said "We spend a lot of money on equipment and personnel to come to Uganda. We can very easily go to Vietnam or Cambodia where the need is even greater. But we feel that Uganda can become a centre of healing for Congo, Sudan and all neighboring countries."
CONCLUSION Though the hospital facilities were poor and the working environment was inconvenient, none of medical mission team members complained. They worked tirelessly to serve many patients. As a result 1733 patients were treated and 20 patients underwent operation. Some surgical cases were not able to be handled in Lyantonde. For these patients, transfer arrangements were made for them to travel to Kampala, Mulago hospital for further investigation and treatment. Most patients who were so poor to afford their own transportation and treatment were sponsored. Many people were so grateful for the UBF medical mission team's sacrificial work and treatment. The Uganda UBF director Dr. Luke Lim held some consultation meetings with the Local government officials.
Through UBF medical mission work we could learn the compassionate heart of Jesus and the need for the medical mission work especially the third world. There is a lot to be done but coworkers and partners are very few. More workers, especially doctors, medical personnel, evangelists and volunteers are all needed to partner in this noble adventure. It is our hope that the next medical outreach mission shall have a greater impact than this one through reaching lives and touching communities with the love of Jesus. May God continue to use us for his world salvation work through campus discipleship ministry and healing.
Uganda Medical Mission 2009