By Jacqueline Zawedde, Communications Development coordinator
It was like an empty shell with only three rooms; a maternity ward, examination office and a store. This was the state of Pacer Health Center II as of January 2016, a facility which catered for the health needs of more than 25,000 people of Pacer sub-county in Agago District in Northern Uganda. Access to water was another challenge the community around Pacer faced, as it only had one functional borehall.
Since its inception, the hospital had also never used electricity. “Can you imagine we would deliver pregnant women using the torch light from our mobile phones!” reminisced one of the midwives.
But the day Mr. and Mrs. Ridley Bell visited the health center in 2015, change started coming. With funds from their business enterprise ‘Mountain Blue Farms’, transformational work started at Pacer Health Center II in January 2016.
World Vision Uganda would oversee the refurbishment and improvement of the facility from level 2 to level 3. This included construction of a General Ward with a Male and female ward, Pediatric ward, Maternity ward, Delivery room/labor suite, midwife’s room, rooms for cooking, bathing, sluicing, line storage, waiting and free walking corridors.
In addition to this, an inclusive hybrid water pump, which serves the entire sub county, was also constructed. Solar panels connected to the system ensured that it becomes motorized so that it pumps enough water to the entire community. In addition, a placenta pit, a solar lighting system, VIP latrines and 2 blocks of Staff houses were constructed.
With the community’s health challenges sorted, the only thing left was making the health center work. And this meant that the district had to hire at least 12 health works. But unfortunately it never had a budget for this. Meaning the facility would not be able to serve to its expected capacity.
Mountain Blue Farms would once again run to the rescue of the community, offering to meet salary costs for all required health workers the facility needs. This would be for the first two years following the hospital’s commissioning.
On 4th July 2017, the Bells made another trip to Agago District to commission the health facility. It was a day of thanksgiving and appreciation even for the little children as they sang songs of praises to the Bells.
In Northern Uganda, cultural dances are made to show happiness and gratitude to someone’s kindness and indeed the community preserved the very best for their guests.
While addressing the community, Ridley Bell thanked God for enabling his family to give back to the less privileged.
“Our thanks is to God for providing this health facility to you. We love you so much just like the Lord loves you, and that is why He enabled us to bring this to you”, said Mr. Ridley Bell. Mrs. Bell encouraged the health workers to work well to bring all services to the people and also urged the children to remain in school. Gilbert Kamanga, the National Director World Vision Uganda re-echoed his appreciation and urged the community to make use of the facility.
In her speech, Hon. Joyce Kadukyu the Minister of State for Primary Health care recognized and appreciated the fruits of the partnership between World Vision, Mountain Blue Farms and the Government of Uganda.
“Words cannot say how much grateful I am to the Bells for bringing health services closer to the people of Northern Uganda and putting a smile on their faces”, she exclaimed. On behalf of the Government of Uganda, the Hon. Minister pledged to continue working hand in hand with World Vision to bring other health services closer to the people.