Haemnet Headed to Uganda
With the days getting shorter and colder, the Christmas advert wars underway and Christmas songs being played everywhere, it’s no doubt that the festive season is upon us, but the Christmas prep will have to wait for the Haemnet team, as we are swapping out chilly London for the equatorial heat of Uganda in early December.
Those of you who have followed Haemnet for a few years may already have known about our previous trips to Uganda, but for those who aren’t up to date, our now Director of Research, Dr Kate Khair was involved in a 4-year WFH Twinning Programme between Great Ormond Street Hospital and Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. During the course of the programme both myself and Mike (Haemnet CEO) were fortunate enough to accompany Kate on her visits.
Experiencing haemophilia first-hand in Uganda had a profound effect on us all. It was encouraging to see how much had been accomplished during the Twinning Programme period, but there was clearly much more to do. Diagnosis, awareness and outreach remain a huge challenge for the Ugandan haemophilia community along with limited access to treatment. Despite the completion of the Twinning Programme, there was no doubt in any of our minds that we would continue to stay connected with and support the Ugandan community however possible.
So, in a few days the Haemnet team will be headed back to Uganda! What will we be doing I hear you ask?… well, myself and Mike will be blogging and posting on social media throughout the trip so be sure to follow us! (links to our socials at the end of this post). But to give you a quick rundown…
We will be spending most of our time in the northern district of Lira, where Kate and Mike will be supporting a patient outreach and education camp. We will also spend some time visiting families in the outer areas of Kampala.
My main focus will be capturing the stories of those in the Ugandan haemophilia community, working alongside Clarke (a filmmaker and Kate’s nephew!) to create a short documentary about the situation in Uganda.
As the departure date draws closer, I can feel the excitement growing, along with a fair amount of nerves too! I’ve always embraced nerves, as I see them as a sign that I really care about doing a good job of the task ahead. I am very aware of how important these stories in Uganda are and I want to capture them as best as possible to share with the UK and global community. It’s been a whirlwind year for new treatment developments, and it’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending hype, but the fact remains that 75% of people with bleeding disorders receive inadequate care or no treatment at all. This fact needs to be pushed to the top of the agenda and sharing people’s stories is one of the most powerful ways to do this.
I‘m thankful for this opportunity and glad to be heading out with a great team of supportive people, passionate about improving the lives of people with haemophilia and bleeding disorders.
They say “you can only do your best” so that’s what I intend to do.