Potter’s Village Children’s Medical Centre opened for patients from the community in December 2012. Services offered are Outpatient and Immunisation clinics, Inpatient Wards for children up to the age of 12, and a Special Care Nursery for premature and sick newborn babies.
The Medical Centre is staffed by a team of good Ugandan nurses, led by Sr Jovia Uwamaria with the support of Dr Mike Hughes and Sister Rosie Brown, both from the UK. Outpatients (mainly children) attend the Centre throughout the day, and sometimes the night; emergencies are seen at any time. In one eight month period over 3000 outpatients were seen. Inpatient numbers can vary monthly from 40 to 150 depending on the season. Common conditions seen on the ward are pneumonia, gastroenteritis, malnutrition, malaria and typhoid. The Special Care Nursery has three incubators, several O2 concentrators, CPAP (this supports the breathing in very sick babies and young children) and phototherapy. There is an excellent team of nursing assistants who are able to look after the Nursery. The numbers of premature and sick newborn babies needing to be admitted varies from month to month, with the highest so far being 16. The Medical Centre also has a small laboratory and part-time lab assistant.
The Medical Centre is situated within the Child Crisis Centre and is now well known within the community. The Medical Centre charges a small fee for consultations, admissions and treatment. The Centre is open to everybody and help is given to those who are simply unable to pay. No child will go without consultation and required treatment.
The Medical Centre has earned the respect of the local community; however it faces difficulties with certain cultural practices and local healing methods, which are often barbaric and can leave children with life threatening conditions. The Medical Centre regularly sees children who have suffered these practices from which most children eventually recover but some, sadly, succumb.
The Medical Centre occasionally receives referrals from the local hospitals. Kisoro Hospital is severely understaffed with only a handful of Doctors coping with a huge number of patients. The good relationship between Kisoro Hospital and the Medical Centre means that some very vulnerable patients are referred for specialist and more personalised care.
The Nutritional Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) for malnourished children operates independently from the Medical Centre and is staffed by nurse and nursing assistants, supervised by Dr Mike Hughes.
The NRU inpatient ward has 10 beds, with an overflow room of 7 beds if required. In addition, some 70-80 children are seen on an outpatient basis. As well as providing nutritional care to children in the NRU, there is a programme to teach the mothers about hygiene, diet, how to grow, prepare and cook nutritious food, and how to interact and play with their children.
Mothers learning play with their children to stimulate their mental and physical health.