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Case Study - Sue Thompson

A Health Visitor whose role is to prevent illness and promote good health in Manchester has recently returned from spreading the same message in Uganda. Sue Thompson, who is based at Burnage Health Centre, has links with Calvary Chapel Kampala through her local church. Through there, Sue, from Wilmslow, was able to carry out some public health work over a 16-day period.

Children brushing teethThe street boys in Kampala are mostly teenagers living in the slums.  An outreach scheme through the Calvary Chapel enabled additional support to be given to the young people.  Sue's work included working with a team called 'Frontline', who befriend and support these young people. Her first workshop involved talking to 68 boys about tooth brushing and dental health. She also gave out toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Sue said: "The boys were very receptive and pleased to have a toothbrush of their own.  When I talked to some of the boys individually, it became evident that their fluid intake was lacking significantly, some boys only having half a litre per day.  In Africa this is much too little, as they need at least two litres per day.  Some of the boys only had one meal a day, or some only on alternate days."

Sue and the members of FrontlineShe also visited the slums where they live which are by contaminated water. They are overcrowded tin dwellings barely 8ft by 8 ft with a tin roof.  Health concerns include general hygiene, head and body lice, scabies.  Contaminated water issues lead to many health issues including stomach upsets, and problems with wound care and healing.  Provision of clean water to drink and nutritious food on a regular basis is a constant concern for these boys.

Two days were spent visiting the abandoned babies' home in Kampala, and resources such as current health information, toys and stimulating activities were given to the home.  Some of the children were ill with health conditions including HIV/AIDS, malaria and malnutrition. 

She said: "The infants and children were well loved and regularly fed. Some beautiful patchworks and wall hangings covered the walls. Nets to prevent malaria were above each cot/bunk bed."

Workshop 2Sue also attended a workshop with eight members of the Frontline team. They discussed the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Development Goals 2015 and what has been achieved. 

Sue said: "The experience was very worthwhile, I learnt a great deal about the difficulties people face on a daily basis.  It just brings home how incredibly fortunate we are to live in an environment where we can be free from the threats of harm, and can live without an armed guard by our homes and that we can drink water freely from taps that work"