— A quick note before I get going. In the time since Nadine published our last personal blog post, the response we received was amazing. Overwhelming, truly. People came forward with their own struggles of trying to start a family, others felt as though they saw their own children in a different way after they read Nadine’s incredible post. It was powerful and healing for us, so thank you so much. —
We held our first training visit in August of 2015, and we are approaching two years of operations here in Uganda as summer comes around once again!
Two years ago, we started delivering life-saving medical trainings to 10 partner health centers. We were a team of 4 people, working out of a small apartment. Each month, we would travel to visit our health center partners, most of them located several hours out into rural areas, and train the health center staff on the best practices related to infection control, patient safety, and the caring of mothers and newborns.
As we approach this coming milestone, I will soon be managing a team of 24 people, as we welcome new health centers into our network to reach 40 partners. We are no longer working out of an apartment, by the way!
LifeNet International exists to transform African health centers to provide quality and sustainable care. We find partners working in rural communities to serve the poor who otherwise would not be able to access care of any kind. We work with the Church, with partners of all denominations, to ensure they can provide the best quality of care, while maintaining financial accountability and responsibility. In short, we work hard to teach others how to save lives.
Where we work, nearly 10% of children die before the age of 5. Only half of all births are attend by skilled healthcare workers. It is estimated that close to 6,000 mothers die each year in childbirth. Quality of care matters, and can prevent many of these deaths.
Just recently, one of our partner health centers was trained in infant CPR. In May, one of the staff at the health center shared this with their LifeNet trainer, James.
“I’m so glad we received training on newborn resuscitation. Many years ago, we [were taught] that holding the baby upside down after birth, and making loud sounds for them, could get them breathing again. But with what LifeNet has taught us, we don’t have to do this anymore. The recommended method is easier and allows the baby to receive oxygen, instead of the old methods we learned so many years ago. This past month, we successfully saved two newborns using the techniques we learned from LifeNet.”
We truly believe in what we are doing here in Uganda, and we love it. The LifeNet team is amazing, and Nadine and I are so privileged to be a part of it.
In addition to training our partners, we have also begun a formal research study to examine the current level of care that mothers and newborns receive. It’s a lot of work, but we know it will result in even more confidence for us to understand the impact our trainings can have.
We are also working on a pilot project to screen, diagnose and treat non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes. All of this, and we plan on hitting 50 health center partners before the end of 2017. Wow!
On a regular basis, I face requests from health center managers, Priests and Reverends, other NGOs, and the Ministry of Health asking for LifeNet to come train their staff at their health centers. Uganda, while it is small compared to Canada, can take hours and hours to move around in. We have churches up in the North, the South, East and West asking us when we will be able to come support their health centers. We need to keep growing so that we can meet this incredible need.
Nadine and I want to continue to share more about the work that we are doing with all of you, and we want to ask you for your support. We desperately need you to take action, to donate, to spread the word about what LifeNet is doing to your friends, family, churches, workplaces, wherever!
The impact is incredible, and so the needs are big too! $10,000 helps us to support one health center partner for a full year. Each time we expand to add another ten partner health centers, we need to purchase a vehicle to get our trainers out there. If you want to contribute towards our support as a couple, that’s an option as well.
We would love to connect with any of you in a more personal way to share about how you can help us make a difference.
As Canadians, you can take advantage of our partnership through SIM Canada to give HERE. Anyone else can support this work by giving to LifeNet directly through their website HERE.
I used to ask to have meetings at other people’s offices, because I spent so many months working out of our home. In two years, we will have grown from 10 to 40 health center partners. From 4 to 24 staff. (That’s not even including 10 research assistants and 4 summer interns!) From a small apartment to a legitimate office. It’s awesome, and we want to help you become a part of our journey here.
To those that love and support us, we wouldn’t be here without you. You all know of the difficulties and pain we’ve been experiencing this past year, and we want you to know that every single message of support, of love, of compassion, of pain, has meant the world to us. Nadine actually made a book of every single message we received after we published our last post so we can look back on it and be encouraged. Since January, we have experienced so many emotions, dealing with sadness, anger and depression. It’s been as hard to endure as anything we’ve experienced in our time overseas.
We feel as though we are now in a place of peace, and we’ve been working hard and dedicating ourselves to daily devotions, reading and prayer. We’ve felt God walking through this difficult time alongside us, and it feels good to be moving forward.
Whether it was a 5 word sentence, or an essay, a Skype call or a hug, each gesture carried weight and has helped push us through. As we stop to take a look at everything that has been done here in Uganda, we can only thank God and thank each of you for being a part of it, and for keeping us going.
We know what we are doing is meant to be difficult. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. We do it, relying on God all the way. We are praying for many of you to come forward and make our growth possible, and help us to answer these calls for help here in Uganda. We hope you can join us!
Lots of love,