Malaria remains the leading cause of death in Uganda according to the Ugandan Ministry of Heath, accounting for 27% of all deaths. Statistics show that Uganda has the world’s highest prevalence of malaria. Every day in Uganda, almost 200 people die from the malaria virus. Even worse, over half of those deaths are of children aged 5 years and younger.
In the past year, approximately 3 out of 10 pupils at IGF primary schools were treated for malaria at the main school clinic, however, there were many more that went without appropriate testing and treatment. The basic first-aid services at IGF’s village schools in Palabek, Amida and Padibe did not allow our children to be tested when they presented at the clinics with high fevers and other symptoms. Instead, they were often given Panadol to control the severe headaches. As many parents could not afford to take their children to clinics in the community, malaria often went untreated, causing health risks and resulting in increased absenteeism.
To more adequately test and treat children and teachers at IGF schools, IGF sought assistance from the Australian High Commission in Kenya to upgrade the clinics at each of the four IGF primary schools. We were blessed with the funding and resources to update the clinics at each school to include diagnostic equipment for testing blood and stool samples. In July, IGF’s main primary school’s updated clinic and laboratory was opened and commissioned by the Australian High Commissioner to East Africa herself, Hon Allison Chartres. In September 2018, the new laboratory at IGF’s Palabek school was opened and commissioned by a member of IGF Australia’s Board, Julie Worsley. The upgrades at Amida and Padibe are underway, and children will have access to more comprehensive testing and treatment through the basic laboratory.
While malaria remains the most significant health concern, children also regularly present to the school nurses with typhoid, acute diarrhoea and gastritis or peptic ulcers. These upgraded laboratory facilities will enable testing and more adequate and appropriate treatment for all children.
We are incredibly grateful to the Australian High Commission Kenya for the support in providing basic medical care to all children at IGF schools. As expected though, the cost of medicines is also increasing. As we are now able to test more children and make more accurate diagnoses, the requirements for medicines for treating the viruses and illnesses has increased. We don’t see it as a negative that more medicines are required, as it means that more children will be appropriately treated rather than suffering needlessly and risking their health.
We need your support in purchasing adequate medicines. It has
become clear that many parents are unable to afford basic medical care for
their children, and have struggled to contribute to the costs of medicine in
the school clinics. Please help us to purchase medicine to treat illnesses and
viruses such as malaria, typhoid, gastritis, respiratory tract infections, and
wounds and skin infections, which are affecting our children and putting their
health at risk.
Give to medicine at https://irenegleesonfoundation.com/portfolio-view/school-clinics/