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, a Special Care Nursery for premature and sick newborn babies, Rehab Centre for Children with Disabilities, Nutritional Rehab, and a small Diagnostic Laboratory providing a variety of tests along with an ultrasound scanner.
The Medical Centre is staffed by a team of good Ugandan nurses, led by Sr Jovia Uwamaria with the support of Dr Nicci Maxwell and visiting overseas volunteers, mainly from the UK. Outpatients attend the Centre throughout the day, and sometimes the night; emergencies are seen at any time. In one eight-month period over 3,000 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 Medical Centre is on the same site as the Crisis Centre and has developed a reputation for providing high quality care. 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, but 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 regularly 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 Medical Centre can provide high dependency care thanks to equipment provided by generous donors, including incubators, oxygen concentrators, CPAP (this supports the breathing in very sick babies and young children), phototherapy for jaundiced babies, syringe pumps, and intravenous infusion pumps. A generator ensures the equipment continues to function despite the many power cuts. Locally trained nurses have developed their skills with the additional training we have given them.
The Special Care Nursery cares for premature babies, asphyxiated babies and babies with severe infections. There is an excellent team of nursing assistants who can 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 24. It is the only Unit of this kind in the District and has saved many lives.