It was both an honor and a pleasure to represent MPI and my local Oklahoma City Rotary Club during my trip to Uganda in early October.
The purpose of our trip was threefold: firstly, to visit the worksite of our Rotary International Global Grant, the Uganda Malaria Elimination Project: Soroti and Katakwi Districts, which trains village healthcare workers to diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia in the far eastern Ugandan districts of Soroti and Katakwi. Secondly, to meet in person with members of the Ugandan Rotary Clubs who had partnered with us on the Global Grant. Thirdly, to wave the flags on behalf of the great work being done by MPI and Rotary Clubs in fighting Malaria in Africa.
The journey also offered a fantastic opportunity to become better acquainted with my fellow MPI board members, Frank Boosman and Dorothy Echodu, CEO of Pilgrim Africa, who supported the project’s implementation. Our week in Uganda allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the prevalence of malaria among the Ugandan people, and its significant impact on individuals’ lives and the country’s economy.
Our time in Uganda began in Kampala, where we met with local leaders from the government, private sector, and nonprofit sector who are at the forefront of the fight against malaria. I was struck by a conversation with four local business leaders; when I inquired if any of them had ever personally had malaria, they asked, “This year?” Three out of the four confirmed having contracted malaria in the past six to eight months.
It is evident that malaria in Africa is not selective—business professionals in cosmopolitan cities face the same risks as villagers in remote areas. It is astonishing that malaria remains so prevalent in 2023!
My week in Uganda underscored the significance of the work done by MPI and the global network of Rotary Clubs that MPI has mobilized to join the fight against malaria.
While in the Soroti and Katakwi districts, we had several face-to-face meetings with trained Village Healthcare Workers who are diagnosing and treating malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia in their local villages. It was inspiring to hear about their commitment to their roles, even though they are volunteers. Each person exhibited immense pride in their work and took their responsibilities very seriously.
I was humbled by the wonderful opportunity to meet these dedicated Village Health Team volunteers and am grateful to all the Rotarians who contribute to MPI and volunteer their time for this noble cause!
In September 2024, MPI will be hosting a group trip to Zimbabwe, home of our newest affiliate. I encourage you to travel with us for a life changing experience.