Message of Thanks from Dr Robert

Another one of the Vancouver Peace Summit's change agents, Dr Robert Kalyesubula came to Connecting to Change with some pretty lofty goals. Here is his message of thanks to those who helped him achieve those goals.

During the Connecting for Change (C4C) conference organized by The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education in Vancouver in September 2009; I was fortunate to be one of the SAWA Global heroes supported by Barbara Ross-Denroche, the principal of the Refinery Leadership Partners Inc for the trip.

As part of the conference ourorganisation, ACCESS (African Community Center for Social Sustainability) formerly NACODI (Nakaseke Community Development Initiative) received a gift of $330 from several members who were touched by the efforts undertaken by the SAWA Global heroes. This money was used to support three of the most need families in Uganda to start up income generation project for sending orphans to school.
Before the (C4C) conference, each of the participants was connected with a partner with whom they communicated and exchanged ideas before the day of the conference.

I was very fortunate to have met Janice Levine, PhD during this conference who was representing MedWish, a MSRO (Medical Supply Recovery Organization) based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Robert Kalyesubula taking in Connecting for ChangeDr. Levine was so impressed with the work that we were doing, that she decided to work with us to help grow the ACCESS program. When she returned to Boston, she convened a Board of professional physicians, health care workers, attorneys and students to help procure and send medical supplies to Nakaseke, and provide a range of resources needed to develop a fully sustainable community center. The team has formed an organisation called Partners for ACCESS (PFA) which to support ACCESS Uganda to scale up all its activities.

During the C4C we were connected to Mary Tidlund, the founding director of the Mary Tidlund Charitable foundation who partnered with PFA to ensure that the 40 feet medical supplies provided by MedWish get shipped to Uganda. The Dalai Lama Center endorsed and publicized this collaboration on its web site, and helped publicize it to its international constituency.

Reid Hoffman, CEO of the social networking site LinkedIn, and a member of the C4C team, offered his resources to help raise awareness and support for transporting medical supplies to Uganda. The PFA has organized several fundraising events and was able to raise money to top up the funds fees given to us by Mary Tidlund which was required to cover the overhead costs of MedWish.

Mary Tidlund also got us in touch with AMJ Campbell International, a leading International moving and relocation specialist, which volunteered to transport the MedWish container from Cleveland to Nakaseke Uganda.

After a period of 3 months, we received the medical supplies in Uganda. We went through the customs clearance and its huddles and were able to deliver the container to Nakaseke Lifecare Center. The community members jubilated as they saw the new equipment being brought off the truck one by one.

We received a variety of medical equipment and supplies including beds, anesthetic machines, delivery beds, monitor to mention but a few. We have already had several operations done from our medical center and are also planning to share some of the equipment with the district hospital which serves the rest of the patients that may not be supported by our clinic.

The medical equipment is also used for training community nurses and preparing them to work in the different health facilities that have similar medical equipment. In addition we have been able to receive more expert doctors who are able to use the medical equipment to do special operations and also provide more advanced forms of treatment. We are now planning to expand both our clinic as well as the nurse training school to accommodate the increasing number of patients as well as trainees.

In addition to sending supplies from MedWish, AFA has identified another local MSRO (Medical Supply Recovery Organization) called IMEC (International Medical Equipment Collaborative), which similarly serves doctors and nurses in developing countries by providing them with quality medical equipment to advance the standard of health care for their nation’s poor. Unlike MedWish, IMEC fulfills its mission by exclusively working
with other established humanitarian organizations to revitalize existing, impoverished hospitals with fully equipped medical suites. This next stage of equipment acquisition from IMEC will require a greater level of funding, and affiliation with a Humanitarian Partner Organization. We are in contact IMEC and hope to start the next phase of medical equipment and supplies to Uganda. IMEC has already sent packets of supplies
that have been used to help over 50 patients.

Beyond supplying medical equipment, our collaboration borne out of the C4C and Sawa Global has enabled us to connect with the University of British Columbia, UBC. I met with the UBC-Global Health team during the C4C conference and started up a collaboration to host students of global health in Uganda. In June 2010, ACCESS hosted 4 global health students from UBC who participated in training of 14 community health workers and worked together with the local leaders to provide medical care to over 700 hundred patients, the majority of whom were students.

The PFA team has been endorsed and supported by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education and continues to look for opportunities to help those in need from less privileged countries.

We are very grateful for the love and enthusiasm that has been bestowed upon us and the attention and support that we have received from all corners of the world since we got connected by the C4C. I hope that many more people can attend the C4C and experience life changing encounters that will enhance our human existence as we strive to make the world a better place to live in for each and everyone of us.

ACCESS and Partners for ACCESS would like to express their since appreciation for all the effort given to us.

SAWA Global, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization working to empower unsung grassroots leaders using a ‘local leadership model’ (versus a ‘foreign aid model’) to virtually connect visionaries from the world’s poorest countries to a global network of partners.

UBC (University of British Columbia): A Canadian University that sends visiting medical students and Nurses to ACCESS to train local healthcare workers.

IMEC, America: A Massachusetts based MSRO (Medical Supply Recovery Organization) that supplies donated medical and agricultural supplies to developing countries worldwide.

MEDWISH, International: A Cleveland based MSRO that sent a 40 foot container of donated medical supplies to Nakaseke, Uganda.

MARY A. TIDLUND CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, whose objective it is to share and exchange knowledge of health, education and the alleviation of poverty through a combination of volunteers and financial funding.

AMJ Campbell International*, a leading International moving and relocation specialist, that has volunteered to transport the MedWish container from Cleveland to Nakaseke.

LINKEDIN, a social networking site, that, under the direction of CEO Reid Hoffman, publicized the ACCESS clinic and the PFA efforts to support it.

CONNECTING FOR CHANGE, The Dalai Lama Center For Peace and Education, Vancouver: A “think tank” of diverse leaders who learn with and from each other about how to create change and advance existing cross-sector collaborations in service of promoting peace.