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Medical lifeline to Uganda

University of Adelaide medical graduate Dr Michael Findlay has been on the steepest learning curve of his life in the past two years.

Since establishing a community health clinic in Uganda in one of Africa’s poorest regions in 2011, the 30-year-old former Adelaide resident and his wife Kim have defied all expectations.

In the space of 24 months the couple has constructed eight buildings to support a 25-bed hospital in an impoverished area of Kamwenge, hired local staff, set up on-the-job training programs and put in place all the governance structures required of such an enterprise.

That’s aside from Dr Findlay’s primary role as the only doctor servicing a region of 400,000 people and Kim’s wider administrative responsibilities and community service work.

It’s a tall order in anyone’s language but the couple’s vision is receiving strong support from Adelaide businesses, individuals and the University community.

Just last month the Findlays took delivery of an expandable shipping container equipped with a state-of-the-art operating theatre fitted out specifically for conditions in developing countries.

The theatre, designed by a team of Adelaide medicos and engineers, was made possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses and will make a huge difference to the Kamwenge community, according to Dr Findlay.

“Obstetrics is a big problem in Africa and the closest operating theatre is two hours’ drive away. For many women who are in the throes of obstructive labour, that distance means the difference between life and death,” he said.

An independent board – Maranatha Health – provides accountability to the project with a number of University of Adelaide medical and business specialists serving as directors and lending their support to the cause.

Aided by financial support from the Ugandan Government, Maranatha Health’s annual fundraising target of $200,000 is largely dependent on the generosity of the Adelaide community.

In this video (above), Dr Findlay discusses both the challenges and the rewards of working in a community where poverty is the common denominator.

To learn more about the Findlay’s Ugandan health project, go to www.maranathahealth.org

Author’s note:  In 2012 Dr Michael Findlay was awarded both the inaugural Future Justice International Medal and the James McWha Award for Excellence for his work in Uganda. He graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 2006.

 

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