Doesn’t that stir up thoughts of Gothic castles, strange asylums and nuns nursing the damned in the slums of Calcutta?
We drove along between klick after klick of sugar cane fields between Jinja where we are staying and Buluba where the St Frances Hospital is located. Founded in the 1930s and mostly funded out of Europe (esp Germany and UK) it was initially solely dedicated to the care and treatment of Leprosy. It’s role has evolved over the years as antibiotic regimes have proven to stop the progress of the disease. Unfortunately, neurological loss is normally permanent. In a culture that values village and family times, most patients are not welcome back home. Even though the treatment is outpatient now, occasional medication reactions but mostly lack of support have a significant number of patients remaining for an extended period of time. No matter how much education you provide, some superstition remains. Medication is provided by the government free of charge and it also pays for care. There are a handful of patients who consider St Francis home and the nuns who run the hospital their home (all over 75 years old). M. leprosae is not an opportunistic infection, so there has not been any increase with the spread of HIV.
The infra structure needs help, the generator only supplies those area which require power. We saw a number of patients with leprosy as well as babies with malaria, a toddler with tetanus and several other diseases not routinely found in North American or Western Europe practices.
Water Birds and Sacred Ibis
We ate dinner before returning to Jinja. Since it was too early in the day for the fruit bats I am afraid that I can’t provide you photos of them.