Clinics to Close in Two Weeks Without Help

RI is racing to secure $50,000 by October 1 to keep open three life-saving healthcare clinics in Uganda.

Palorinya Settlement, UGANDA — When Madelina Ayuru returned to her village, it was empty.

She searched for her family and for her neighbors, but found only a woman about to flee who scolded her. 

“You are still behind?!” Madelina recalls the woman saying. “The people have run away towards the border because the war has come here.”

The war, of course, is the one in South Sudan, and that January day while Madelina was visiting the capital city of Juba, violence swept nearly everyone out of her village near the Ugandan border.

She joined the throngs heading south, where she learned that her five children were among those fleeing.

After two days on foot, she crossed into Uganda and was taken to Palorinya, where more than 184,000 refugees now live. Her children are still missing. She has had news that her husband survived the fighting that day, but later died of a respiratory infection.  

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Madelina knows that her husband’s fate could be hers or that of many others in the settlement. She recently arrived at Palorinya Clinic 1C suffering from persistent coughing and chest pain. Clinical officer Sunday Alaru diagnosed Madelina with pneumonia after a thorough exam and lab tests to rule out tuberculosis and other possible illnesses.

“When there is no clinic and I become sick, there is nothing I can do,” Madelina told Relief International’s Uganda Team Leader Vijay Narayan. “There is no money. How can I pay to go somewhere else? The only thing is to wait for the disease to kill me.”

But disease will not kill Madelina or anybody else if Relief International can help it. Clinical officer Alaru and other clinic staff work six days a week, often with little rest, to provide the high-quality healthcare that Madelina and more than 20,000 refugees a month rely on. 

Photo: Madelina (center) describing her symptoms to Clinical Officer Sunday Aluru (right), with Alex Pitia translating. Alex is also a refugee from South Sudan. 

The money is needed to operate these three clinics until the end of 2017, when funding from international donors is expected to become available.  

“I don’t want the clinic to close,” Madelina said, “because if it does, sincerely in my community people will be dying.”

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