What do you do when there are no trained healthcare workers?
Picture yourself permanently camping in the deep woods. You
have built yourself a small hut, and each day seek greens to eat. You go to the bathroom outside (only 46% of those in Uganda have
indoor plumbing and it's not a priority for a child-headed household). Preventable diseases like dysentery, cholera and diarrhea are
You hope at night roving theives didn't steal the fruit you were raising in your trees. You find your own water and
carry it long distances. If you are lucky you are enrolled in school and spend your days there, your hut untended.
This is how
most of our child and youth partners live. When you're in the jungle and are cut, bitten by a malaria carrying mosquito, or drink
bad water, you have little to no chance to get medical care. You don't have transport and if you did, you couldn't pay
for the care. You just try to get by.
Some of our beneficiaries have HIV/AIDS, an inherited illness from their parents, many
of whom died leaving their children to make their way on their own. The youth in Lira have contracted HIV/AIDS at
a rate of 11.9%, almost twice the national average of 6.2%,
The most fortunate ones have drugs to help them. However, the drugs
must be taken with food and so young childen must get up before sunrise, gather greens to eat, then make it to school.
you do have access to health care, the situation is risky. According to a late 2010 report from New Vision, patients are at times
ignored contrary to Uganda's Anti-Corruption laws. One report found nurses were listening to a radio report while a mother in labor
cried for help. The mother and baby died, and the nurses explained that they were only there to help after the baby was delivered.
if our partner is female she may have suffered worse things. Rape is all too common and the resulting sexually transmitted diseases
and trauma of such violence creates deep pain. As well, the desperation of poverty leads some women into situations where they will
do anything for survival, leading to renewed cycles of illness and despair.
Such chilling realities are our world. In
these situations its important to find those needing care and advocate for better community care.
There is one doctor per 60,000 people in the Lango subregion. CCYA staff visit the kids in the village as well as frail widows, who serve as guardians.
What we can do:
- With War Child Holland, in 2006-07 we trained communities and mobilized them to become more aware of reproductive health,
hygeine, and HIV/AIDS. We networked them to local NGOs so that they might know of the assistance.
- We pay for medical treatment and
transport where we can afford to pay for it. This includes helping frail guardians or feeding children who are fainting from malnourishment.
When a partner's guardian dies (see below, casket with cross) we are with them at the funeral and provide food to them as we are able.
have implemented a disabilities program to help communities better care for the 15,000 disabled members of our region.
- Our own staff
health: we do not earn a living wage as members of the CCYA staff. We take risks riding motorcycles long distances along muddy roads
and have limited protective wear. We have no health insurance at present for our staff.
- We implement food security and sanitation programs
to help prevent malnourishment. Women and young girls are our primary partners because they are typically responsible for water
collection and domestic work.
- We are actively seeking more trauma counseling for our community. 48% of our population suffers
from stress disorders; 67% have depression, and our suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.
- We have identified sites where substance
abuse is destroying the health and well-being of our partners and are working to implement a substance abuse program which will begin
- We have conducted two radio talk shows to create awareness of the problems of rampant drug and substance abuse.
CCYA staff member (in white t-shirt) comforting a young beneficiary (in blue) upon the death of his guardian, an elderly woman. Our
partner has HIV/AIDS and will now live as a member of an impoverished extended family. His life, as hard as it was before, is
now harder. It's made more bearable with comfort and the advocacy of a "big brother," as CCYA provides.