More than 600 Health Checkups for Students in Rubongi.
March 11, 2015 Great excitement filled the air in Rubongi, Uganda, as hundreds of children lined up outside a makeshift exam room at St. Jude Primary School waiting for an opportunity to receive their first ever medical check-up. Dr. Abraham Walusimbi, accompanied by a volunteer doctor, travelled from Kampala to offer his time and medical expertise. Most of the St. Jude children have never seen a doctor before, and the news of Dr. Walusimbi’s visit captured the attention of many local parents as well. One of those parents was a mother who walked miles along a dirt road under the African sun to ensure her daughter, who is going blind likely due to cataracts, be evaluated.
After administering more than 600 free checkups at St. Jude Primary School, Dr. Walusimbi’s findings revealed malnutrition, specifically undernutrition, as the greatest concern to students. Skin Conditions, lack of feminine hygiene and proper foot protection were also of critical concern to the Rubongi children.
Operation Wellness was inspired by Dr. Walusimbi who is dedicating this mission to honor the memory of COFIA’s late St. Jude Primary school student, Richard Obonyo, who passed away after his fight against Cancer in the spring of 2014. A 3-day medical campaign of this magnitude would not be possible without the many COFIA volunteers on the ground in Rubongi, along with the generous donation by the Law Offices of Jennifer A. Wing, who funded basic first aid materials, supplies and medications.
COFIA continues to address these health and wellness challenges at St. Jude Primary School. Every year, more than 3.5 million children around the world die because of undernutrition, a problem that is widespread in Uganda, with 38% of all children being undernourished or stunted. This is a preventable issue and there are low-cost interventions and effective primary care preventions. The underlying cause of malnutrition in Uganda is inadequate water and sanitation safety and access, along with little or no access to proper health care, and a continual struggle with food insecurity.
COFIA’s health and wellness and school meals programs address these concerns. The generosity of Dr. Walusimbi, the Ugandan COFIA volunteers, and our American funding partner, the Law Offices of Jennifer A. Wing, have provided a potentially life saving intervention for the children in Rubongi, Uganda.