The Community of Budondo, in Uganda, has blossomed after the opening of this incredible facility in 2014. MAMA HOPE has helped Mukisa Bernard Nadhomi and his wife Teopista to bring their vision to life; creating not only a medical facility for routine healthcare and education, but also highly trained workers that uplift the entire region. The facility has helped to save lives of mothers and children, and has ambitious yet attainable goals outlined for their very bright future.
My name is Mukisa Bernard Nadhomi, and together with my wife Teopista, we are proud to share with you the Suubi Health Centre. Our passion to continue building this facility is driven by something to which I think we can all relate: I have a dream that is not yet fulfilled. Our dream itself is very simple — we wish to eliminate deaths from preventable conditions, and to help our Community to thrive in the face of difficult economic and environmental realities. Our solution includes a health care center, health training, jobs, and sense of place that has truly become the heart of our home in Budondo. Like many entrepreneurs, my story includes a long period of hard work and learning, and now my path is to lead and to drive the process, by being an example and inspiring and encouraging others working on the project to turn their own spoke of the wheel. Taking the lead is to me the next step of a story that started long ago.
I came from a very poor family background. I would have dropped out of primary school were it not for a certain teacher who offered to pay for my primary school fees. He supported me to train as a primary teacher. Another person directed me how to enter and study at Makerere University. Then another person helped me find a scholarship to study in Russia. I was nominated by a department at Makerere University to work at a SIDA organization called Dramatool, as a Coordinator, through which I was able to create a global network supporting our project today. At every crossing, there was somebody to take me over. My community has many crossings to make and I know there is no other person other than me and my family to lead the people over. If I was not supported, I would not be where I am. If my family and I do not support our community, the people may not reach the dream we see.
Our Dream: Not Just a Facility, But A Healthy Community
The Suubi Health Centre is first a shelter from the challenges of the physical environment and the conditions of poverty. The facility includes medical rooms where everything from routine checkups to operations can take place. Each month around 260 people come through the doors, to receive immunizations, pain relief, and treatments for everyday issues. These day-to-day treatments are critical to our Community’s long-term health, as even a basic case of malaria for example, can incur serious long-term health crises for children — or even death. Our landscape is difficult, with some areas suffering from unsafe drinking water or months of flooding. There is a preponderance of physical labor, resulting in physical injuries like broken bones and chronic pains. We work hard to address the needs of the people that come to the center, in whatever form it takes. We are human centered.
Upon arriving at the Centre, patients are greeted by one of the 8 Suubi Women — whom I believe to be the core of our organization. The 8 Suubi Women receive and direct patients where to go; they support the health workers; they lead outreach programs to the community to open dialogue about conditions and best practices for minimizing health risks. They are both communicators and facilitators, and the Centre relies heavily on their efforts.
For these 8 women, the Centre is not just a job — it’s a lifeline to a self-sustaining future. Their work at the center has provided for these women, a ‘crossing’, such as the one I received from generous and loving people on my journey. The 8 Suubi Women were selected from poor families, and had dropped out of primary school — leaving them vulnerable to abuse, insecurity, and neglect, and completely without opportunity. Teopista and I took them in, training them for a full 3 years and eventually giving them a small stipend for becoming fully employed at the Centre. Though small, this income and their knowledge provides these women the ability to live a fully-realized life as part of their Community.
These women work alongside a medical staff that includes 1 clinical officer, 1 midwife, 1 nurse and 1 lab technician. These dedicated people work selflessly to bring relief to their community. They provide services including lab work, medication dispensing, maternity and neonatal services, family planning, immunization, dentistry, and more. They work on location at the facility, and also travel in the Centre’s new ambulance. This vehicle and staff have already saved the lives of one mother and child, in just a few months of launching the program.
Centre staff also design and implement educational programs on reproductive health and HIV/AIDs. Their preventative maintenance program is a key part of the Community’s revitalization; education happens through outreach programs managed by the team, as well as in the Budondo Community Hall. This structure can hold over 1000 people, and in addition to providing health support services, is a central meeting point, hosting soccer and movie watching, concerts, and vocational training programs. The Centre benefits from rental of the Hall. Income generated at the Hall is just one piece of how we intend to build a sustainable financial path for the Centre.
But as I said as I started, our accomplishments mark just the beginning for our Community. Our next major project aims to better support mothers and children. A new 5-story maternity ward and x-ray unit will help ensure the safe birth of nearly 3060 children over the next 3 years. With the next closest hospital nearly 25km away, and due to having the very highest ratings for quality, the Suubi Health Centre is becoming inundated with our burgeoning Community’s needs. These new facilities, along with staff salary increases, will help ensure that this vibrant Community in Eastern Africa will be able to support everyone with the highest level of integrity and quality.
Teopista and I named the center “Suubi”, which means “hope”, because to us it embodies both our sense of who we are and our knowledge of what is good for our community, while opening the door to the work and opportunities yet to come. We look forward to our partnership with MAMA HOPE and their incredible Global Advocates in helping us to reach these goals. Thank you for your support.
Mukisa Bernard Nadhomi
CURRENT GLOBAL ADVOCATE
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