Local church aids hospital project in UgandaPublished 9:16pm Friday, April 11, 2014
Healthcare is a worldwide issue. Whether you live in eastern North Carolina or Kadami, Uganda, people need access to medicine. First United Methodist Church in Washington is trying to meet the medical needs of villagers in Kadami through fundraising for a hospital.
According to Trey Howdy, member of First United Methodist Church and board member of the Friends of Kadami, the idea came from a Sunday school class. The Friends of Kadami is a nonprofit group based in North Carolina, motivated by faith and concern for the people of Kadami. A member of the Sunday school class, who is a native of Zimbabwe, told the class about an African support group that has a member who lives and works in Greenville, Dr. Sylvester Odeke. Odeke, a native of Kadami, had been working on a project involving the construction of a hospital in his native village.
“These people would rank among the poorest in the world,” said Howdy. “They make a dollar approximately every other week. They have virtually no healthcare. There are no paved roads; there is no water, sewer, nothing. Half of the kids die before the age of 5.”
According to Howdy, healthcare is one of the primary concerns in Kadami. Among the most imminent dangers for these people are malaria, gangrene and other disease from the lack of proper medical resources.
“Just basic healthcare is what they are looking for,” Howdy said.
Howdy said that the project’s focus is building a medical facility in an area that has none. In this case, the project called for a roof to be built on an existing structure for the hospital. Howdy traveled with Odeke to Kadami in March to assess the project, which turned out to be estimated at $50,000 for costs. Contractors from the capital city in Uganda met with Howdy and Odeke to assist in the assessment.
“We were told that if we could come up with $35,000 then they would be able to start, and we could fundraise for the extra $15,000,” Howdy said.
According to Howdy, the contractors determined that the soil and structure could not support the proposed roof. With that assessment, the project went from a $50,000 to $500,000 project.
“That was a huge setback,” Howdy said. “We got back to the States and we started investigating what our options were for trying to get something going. In doing that, we got connected with a group out of Massachusetts that has agreed to provide all of the accouterments of the hospital — the stethoscopes, the tables, all that kind of stuff — if we can get the hospital built.”
Howdy said that the church and the Friends of Kadami are in the process of fundraising to raise awareness for several side projects and to get people on board with donating to the hospital fund.
“These people, in a very real sense, have nothing,” Howdy said. “The need is tremendous, the scope is large, but we are optimistic that we can get something going.”
For more information about Friends of Kadami or to donate to its cause, visit kadami.org.