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December 24, 2022

As a tradition, this event happens in December every year, just days before Christmas. The event is preceded by a general staff meeting a day before. During the general staff meeting, the administration accounts for the hospital activities carried out in the year since the previous meeting. Remarks and queries are presented by the rest of the hospital staff members.  This meeting sets everyone on the same page by the end of the day, even ready for a party the next day. These two events are intended to bring together all the staff members from all the different departments ranging from support staff to administration. As it is quite obvious, there is no such instance where all the 268 staff members are under one roof, healthcare provision has to continue always. This is the closest Matany Hospital can get to having everyone together for a meal and a party.

As far as togetherness is concerned, these meetings and parties have both been effective for the past years since it started.

This year: Friday, 16th December 2022, the tradition was further sustained when the hospital held a general staff meeting at 3 pm attaining a high score of attendance of about 200. Opening prayers and remarks were led by the host, deputy human resource manager, Mr Loput Johnson. The host then invited the Medical Superintendent (MS), Dr John Bosco Nsubuga to give his presentation. As it was anticipated, the MS gave a detailed presentation of the hospital activities with statistical backing. The highlight of the presentation was the progressive improvement in healthcare delivery by Matany Hospital despite the deteriorating finance.

The administrator of Matany Hospital, Br. Günther Nährich also gave an insightful presentation mostly highlighting the finance of the hospital. This year 2022, the Hospital expenses substantially increased compared to the previous year; Conversely, the hospital income decreased by almost the same ratio, threatening insolvency. At the end of Br. Günther’s speech, a video sent by Dr Michael, Marga and family was played They have been the most devoted Hospital benefactors. As it is seen in the video, they wish everyone in Matany Hospital a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year 2023. In his own words, “God willing we shall celebrate the Day of The Sick together in Matany next year.”

Shortly after the loud applause, the floor was open for reactions from the members. The members raised questions some including requests for supplements in remuneration which the administration responded accordingly. Mr Erau Faustine, the medical Clinical officer offered a vote of thanks to the administration and the entire team of devoted staff members for working tirelessly each day to ensure the continuance of the Hospital.

Ameo Jesca, the PHC nurse did an excellent job in summarizing and translating the content of the meeting in Akarimojong making sure no one got left out.

Another staff member who happened to be one of the beneficiaries of the Hygiene and sanitation program confirmed that she received the pit latrine and offered her heartfelt gratitude. The meeting ended just a quarter to 6 pm with a closing prayer.

The following day, Saturday, 17th December 2022: The committee comprised of the Hospital catering department, technical and security assembled a team and set things in motion early in the morning to ensure the party happens at the slated time, 3 pm.

The party started at half past three with the arrival of the hospital staff and students from the Nursing and Midwifery Training School (NMTS). Welcoming remarks from the host, again Mr Loput Johnson kickstarted the party. Brief speeches followed from the Medical Superintendent, and the principal nursing officer, Sr. Paula, both taking a keen interest in the time since it wasn’t a talking day.

The students from nursing and midwifery students were invited too, occupying the western tent fully.

Breaks were inclusive and plenty of entertainment happened: the majority included dance choreographies from the Nursing and Midwifery Students, a performance from Teko Sakari, a nurse from Surgical Ward, music performance from Jeep man who sang his recorded song exalting Matany Hospital for its impact on Karamoja.

Sr. Gladys the deputy principal also gave a speech reminding the crowd that the training school scooped 100% in the accreditation just like the hospital did this year.

Br. Günther Nährich the Administrator of Matany hospital gave a 10-minute long speech mostly tailored towards Christmas. In his message, he reiterated the memorable events of the year 2022. Below is the Christmas letter

The video is a detail of the speech that was a combination of the Christmas message and some reminder of the events that happened in during the year.

Without further ado, food was served at two serving points for convenience and time-saving, and everyone got enough. The variety of dishes left the people smiling with satisfaction, thanks to the catering team comprised of the hospital café and the NMTS kitchen staff.

The administration opened the dance floor and the people danced and had fun till 10 pm.

Nyeko Gunther

December 13, 2022
Sr. Among and Dengel having a conversation with Lolem during the visit at her home

Today, healthcare includes a lot of activities ranging from prenatal to antenatal to preventive care and palliative care. Palliative care involves a variety of services delivered in support of the patient and their family, by a mix of professionals who all have equally important roles to play – including physicians, nurses, support workers, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists and volunteers.

Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and that of their families who are facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness, whether physical, psychological, social or spiritual. The quality of life of caregivers improves as well. Early delivery of palliative care reduces unnecessary hospital admissions and the use of health services.

A 2020 publication by World Health Organisation states that each year, an estimated 56.8 million people, including 25.7 million in the last year of life, need palliative care. Unfortunately, only about 14% of people who need palliative care currently receive it. Unnecessarily restrictive regulations for morphine and other essential controlled palliative medicines deny access to adequate palliative care.

The global need for palliative care is expected to grow as a result of the ageing of populations and the rising burden of non-communicable diseases and some communicable diseases. Karamoja sub-region is unquestionably disadvantaged by not just inadequate health technology but also its relative location from the better-equipped National Referral Hospital, Mulogo. Of

the socio-economic nature of the people, most patients are destitute. Several cancer patients in need of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are unable to access the service prompting the hospitals to offer only the most they can, palliative care.

Nakong(centre) upon receiving the items.

At St. Kizito Hospital Matany, palliative care is provided by Primary Health Care nurses (PHC) who travel -with the support of the Hospital- to visit the patients and give medical supplies to the homes of residents. morphine is the most prescribed and delivered.

If it was just about the medical conditions, the challenges would have been much simpler to alleviate but, financial constraints limit the patients from even getting food and water. Most of the patients visited are in visible misery arising from their inability to make a living. Considering how they have been making a living from manual labour and the incomes were hand-to-mouth, health conditions like these are just forcing the patients to live shorter than they could have.

The PHC team with a little funding from the hospital and well-wishers have made efforts to help the patients with the basics of food and water to accompany the strong medications that demand a lot from the body. The team on several occasions have carried along some food items like posho, beans, and milk powder among others as they deliver the morphine refill.

In one particular visit that got documented, the team visited two terminally ill cancer patients who reside in the neighbourhood of the hospital in sheer lack and agony.  As narrated in the video below, these two individuals are having the hospital as their only refuge and stronghold.

The first patient who is in her late 60s is homeless after her house collapsed earlier this year; besides the distress from the illness, shelter and food are up there on her list of needs to sustain life. She was better off during the times when she was admitted to the medical ward of Matany Hospital, at least shelter, water and even food were assured.

Sr. Among ( left ) reminding Nakong ( centre ) of the prescriptions.

The second patient was diagnosed with cervical cancer in her early 40s, she has been a seamstress before her health conditions couldn’t allow her to continue with the decent living, she has been making for the past 2-3 decades. Now she sits home and hopes that the pain and hunger don’t come at once, at least one at a time -as she meditates on her demise.

When visiting such patients, one can wonder whether the delivered medication is the first on their list of priorities or another burden. It instantly evokes mixed emotions: Seeing them smile in agony when the team arrives, seeing them laugh while the joy lasts, the joy that lasts as long as the team’s company in the dry compound. While for the team members, one cannot get the thought of these visits of his/her mind: The thought of knowing you are their only balance between agony and peaceful passing on. The thought that, of all the supplies delivered, the medications are probably still there but not the food -not anymore. The thought that you would love to offer more helping hands but as a team member of a hospital like this, Matany Hospital also has its financial constraints painted all over, is distressing. Unlike in the past, there is currently no running program for supplying food to needy patients whose ability to make a living for themselves got hindered by their health conditions. Out of utter regard to humanity, the hospital is obliged to deliver medical assistance to each one of the terminally ill patients who have been discharged to reside in their respective homes.

Team members walk 3 km East of Matany to meet the second patient.

There is a limitation on transportation if the homes near and far homes are to be visited routinely. The team members have been moving on foot to homes that are at the extreme ends -extreme ends of the walkable distance spectrum. In the instance that the home is outside this spectrum, it is probably in the range of a bicycle rider. Bicycles are used in most cases when walking the entire distance is not humanely achievable; Unfortunately, not even bicycles are readily available.

What the PHC team of Matany Hospital prays for is a vehicle, a vehicle strong enough to reach the deepest ends of the villages, a vehicle just accommodative enough for the team members and the supplies to be taken along.

The vehicle will further be pivotal to this service since there are patients in hospital beds that have been referred to Mulago National Referral Hospital for Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy but are unable to afford the fares. They too can get some sigh of relief and some light of hope if transportation is available.
A Saturday with Lolem and Nakong

Nyeko Gunther

December 1, 2022
Namilo Sharon CM 2019, making a presentation.

When you think of 2020, you think of one thing before the rest; interruption or particularly, COVID-19.  The impact of this outbreak is hard to overstate; the majority arose from preventive measures. The directives as inconvenient as they got, were for the good of the entire population. Nevertheless, the stand-still was detrimental not only to the daily running of the business but also education. Not just once, but twice; first and second wave. St Kizito Hospital Matany School of Nursing and Midwifery students were not spared in any way.

About to be dispatched to “serve and love” is a cohort comprised of 5 gentlemen and 38 ladies who joined this training school at a time which later seemed to be an unfortunate time to join any school, July 2019.  All 5 gentlemen did nursing, 18 of the females trained for midwifery and the rest, 20 pursued a nursing certificate.

Finalists and continuing students attend the presentations

As of 29th November, the class did final preparations inclusive of personal revisions, group discussions and academic seminars all aimed at acing the final examinations slated for 6th December 2022. Teams were created to do self-assessment in practical sessions, different examinable areas in typical ward setup were practised and marks were awarded. The examiners -who were fellow students- awarded marks and gave comments on the performance of the fellow students. The tutors later joined in to give more detailed and expert guidance to the students.

Sr. Eunice giving her remarks

Sr Eunice Okello, the clinical instructor further emphasized the matter of individual attitude towards patients, not just for the final exams but the whole career, referring to the increased complaints about nurses’ attitudes in almost every facility.
Summary video

Before one of the many academic seminars, a few students shared their experiences about the journey from choosing the profession to choosing this specific training school and completing the training.

“I decided to join this particular training school because of the reputation they have built; passing the best-performing nurses and midwives in this country despite, being outside the central region where the best training schools are presumed to be located. I applied normally as guided by the adverts, got shortlisted and did the interview. I believe I was outstanding in the interviews as well; the admission team was free and fair enough to take me in based on merit.”

~ Awor Anna Frances from Tororo.

“My inspiration to join this nursing profession stemmed from my first encounter in the medical ward in Matany Hospital when my father was brought in a critical condition, The way the nurses received and took good care of my father impressed me, it was just a good impression shortly before it turned to a deep inspiration. He later succumbed to the illness; nevertheless, I envisioned myself being a nurse, the best nurse! besides, what better place to do my training? I thought.”

~ Dida Happy Peace from Kaabong

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed me as it did to everyone else, the most apparent is the academic timeline that got disrupted. I am certain I would be a midwife by now prepping for a diploma course. My family’s sole source of income; business, also got a setback posing further challenges to provision for me and my siblings. On the brighter side, (scoffs) I got to spend more quality time with my family, with the nature of boarding schools, we barely spent more than a month with family. Above all, I am glad we have reached the beginning of the end.”

~Natiang Gloria from Amudat

The hospital, the school administration and all the stakeholders are pleased with the resilience and the milestones the trainees have achieved up until this point.

The success card from the Hospital Administration

Nyeko Gunther

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