In 2011 we were lucky enough to have a qualified medical doctor, Christiane Develius, travelling with us. She had been a loyal supporter of the project and was keen, on her first visit, to check on the children’s general health.
The previous year UKHF had sent extra funds to Tom to help with the cost of testing all the children for HIV/AIDS, * so she was able to quickly identify the children currently receiving treatment; but most of her time was spent seeing children with other ailments and working in conjunction with the district nurse. For the duration of her stay Dr Develius set up a surgery in a small building in one corner of the playground.
A visiting doctor was a rare sight in Busiiro so word quickly got around and, after the 1st day, there were queues forming around the school! We set up a processing system, first asking teachers to identify the children most in need of attention, then, with the help of five older children, who acted as translators, Maggie Scott, (UKHF trustee), created a form with their details, made a note of their height and, accompanied by a helper, sent them off to meet the doctor. The consultations were often long and detailed and, as a consequence, several children were able to receive direct assistance and medication from the clinic**, many whose ailments might otherwise have remained undetected.
Out of the 60+ children seen, the primary cause for concern was Malaria and indeed we had been informed by Tom each year about the children who died from the infection.
All of the children seen were unwell but not permanently incapacitated nor suffering with long-term diseases, except for one young boy who had a deformity on both legs making his feet turn inwards. Dr Duvelius felt very strongly that special funds should be found to buy some orthopaedic boots.
Dr Christine Develius in her temporary surgery at HF school 2011.
Joel, always cheerful but desperately in need of corrective boots so that he could walk. This was later organized and paid for personally by Dr Develius and on our last trip in Feb 2014, Joel was thriving and, with the help of his special boots, was even able to join in and play football!
*The Tests were free but we had to fund the cost of transportation, as all the children had to be taken to the clinic several miles away in Iganga.
**There is a small clinic in Busiiro village, opposite the old school site. We have replaced and replenished the medical stocks there as we have used them.