A CHARITY based in Horsham plans to launch a community appeal in the hope of achieving its years-long goal of building a health centre in remote Uganda.
JBO Foundation director John Bosco Odongo said the group had secured donations of medical equipment from hospitals in Horsham and Ballarat.
“We just need a shipping container and the money to pay freight costs,” he said.
Mr Odongo’s dream is to build a large medical centre in Uganda’s Kole District, where the lack of medical care is compounded by a lack of education.
Kole has an estimated population of 232,000 but only a few basic medical centres.
“I heard recently that a five-year-old child was buried in an anthill because they thought he had an evil spirit inside him,” Mr Odongo said.
“It turns out he had the symptoms of epilepsy.”
Mr Odongo said people in the region were dying because they did not understand the symptoms of cholera or HIV, or were drinking water contaminated with animal or human faeces.
“They are not taught that if you have a headache, you do not need to cut your head and place herbs on it, like what was done to me,” he said.
“They haven’t been told you can take Panadol, which is clinically proven.
“There is nothing wrong with using herbs, but they must be clinically proven.”
Mr Odongo hopes that when the centre is built, volunteers from all over the world will be able to come and help it become self-sustaining.
“We hope to create a model health facility that can be used to establish other centres across Uganda and Africa,” he said.
“It will also be a chance for doctors to learn about diseases they would not otherwise encounter.
“You could work your whole life as a doctor in Australia and maybe see only one case of cholera, malaria or TB.”
The foundation was started in 2013 and Mr Odongo said he wanted to host events or campaigns to raise money, with the Wimmera’s input.
He said people could find more details available online at www.jbohealthfoundation.com