It Takes a Village
The Friends of East Africa Foundation and the Ruth Gaylord Hospital Maganjo are blessed to partner with some pretty amazing organizations.
University of Minnesota & Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) have begun an important partnership with Friends of East Africa Foundation and Ruth Gaylord Hospital Maganjo (RGHM). Resident doctors from Makerere University will take training in general surgery at the nationally renowned University of Minnesota Medical School. Then they will return to Uganda where they will finish their residency at RGHM under the tutelage of Makerere University professors surgery. Medical students and residents from the U of M will come to RGHM for training in tropical medicine, an in-demand set of skills in this age of globalization.
This partnership is mutually beneficial; residents of the U of M Medical School learn tropical medicine, Makerere University's young resident doctors learn surgical skills, and patients of RGHM receive high-quality health care at a low cost. U of M surgeons conduct regular surgical camps for RGHM patients.
Plans for rotations for medical students and internal care residents are underway. In the meantime, Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the U of M Medical School, and Charles Lugemwa, country director and board chair of Hope Medical Clinics Uganda (the parent NGO of RGHM), are scheduled Sept. 25, 2018, to sign a formal affiliation agreement for a general surgeons' training program at the hospital.
Currently there are only 41 surgeons in Uganda, a country with a population of 41 million. That's one surgeon for every one million people. For the vast majority, surgery is simply not available and certainly unaffordable.
Megan Doyle and Matter, formerly known as Hope for the City, have partnered with Friends of East Africa Foundation since its inception. It was Megan, who after a distressing tour of a Kampala hospital's maternity ward, said: "We need to start our own hospital." Matter has provided equipment and Megan has contributed ideas, contacts, strategies and major funding.
Books for Africa has facilitated the delivery of a pallet of medical books for Ruth Gaylord's Hospital's medical library.
Dr. George Halvorson, former CEO and chairman of Kaiser Permanente and author of Three Key Years, has been facilitating the enrichment of RGHM's prenatal instruction by making available ThreeKeyYears.org's resources such as its Parents’ Toolkit, which now is part of the hospital's prenatal program. Learn more at https://threekeyyears.org/.
ReSpectacle, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, employs the power of the Internet to distribute quality, used eyeglasses to underserved communities worldwide. To participate in the ReSpectacle program, RGHM needed only an EyeNetra autorefractor – a mobile self-test device to screen patients for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and to measure pupillary distance – and a smartphone. Thanks to a gift to the Friends of East Africa Foundation from benefactor Peggy Grieve, it now has both.
As few as 40 optometrists practice in Uganda, and eyeglasses cost more than most people can afford. But ReSpectacle is helping to change that, helping people to read, work, and navigate the bustling streets of Uganda safely whether on wheels or by foot. To learn more about ReSpectacle, visit or follow ReSpectacle on Facebook.
University of St. Thomas VISION (Volunteers In Service Internationally Or Nationally) is a longstanding, in-demand community engagement program for university students. At RGHM, university participants collaborate in a variety of capacities such as assisting with receiving and welcoming patients, helping with triage and directing patients to appropriate service points, engaging with nurses in inpatient care and in the hospital’s community outreach programs, such as public health education and immunizations clinics.
Medical affiliations between universities are expanding medical knowledge on both sides of the globe.
Betty Nakiyimba was a tailor and had trouble working as her sight diminished. With her new glasses from ReSpectacle, she is able to resume work and feed her family.