Originally, Carla and Amy went to Northern Uganda on slightly different medical missions, but they eventually teamed up in 2015 to work together in the burn unit at St Mary’s LACOR hospital just outside of Gulu. They had each been to Gulu a couple of times separately, but it wasn’t until that first trip together that the ideas starting rolling to create a sustainable, long-term solution for the area’s underserved victims of burns.
Fortunately for many locals, St. Mary’s LACOR burn unit offers the region’s best healthcare available. But many people have to travel from miles away, and being so far from home makes caring for the entire family a game of logistics. Families sometimes stay for many months at the hospital, caring for their loved ones. This is not only hard emotionally, but can be a huge financial burden on the entire family. Families run out of money, food, and other resources, and are forced to take their children out of the hospital and return home to their support system.
Some of their initial concerns were:
- Patients were not getting adequate protein for efficient healing due to cost of services
- The burn unit was critically low on wound care supplies and medications
- Minimally systemized patient education program
- Infrequent therapy services were being delivered
- Patients return home to non-sterile environments which increases risk of infection
On their first mission trip together in September 2015 through Medical Missions Foundation, Carla and Amy decided to start organizing a Milk and Eggs program to provide protein to all of the patients in the LACOR burn unit. This program is still alive and well today and has been funded until now through private donations from Carla, Amy, and their family and friends. Fast forward 18 months, and this program has become the inspiration for the Gulu Project—broadening and expanding the services and access to essentials for adequate burn recovery to the people of Gulu and the surrounding areas.
Carla and Amy have been able to acquire a small parcel of land located about one mile from St Mary’s LACOR hospital, and their plans are to create an outpatient center and long-term care village for patients who can no longer stay at the hospital for financial and/or family issues.