Medcare Team Visit 2023

On Monday July 10th, Mike Taylor (Medcare chairman), Pauline Hutchinson (Trustee), Beccy Hough (Medcare sponsor and volunteer) and Amelia Hough, aged 14 years (Medcare volunteer) set off for Uganda via Doha, Qatar. Following long delays on arrival in Entebbe airport and lost luggage, we eventually found our driver and set off for Masaka. By this time, we were travelling in the dark – not a journey for the faint hearted! Despite this we arrived safely at our hotel on the Tuesday evening, ready for a busy week ahead.

Day 1

While Mike and Pauline held meetings with individual Wellspring staff members, Beccy and Amelia went to visit Tower Primary School in Kamutuuza. The head teacher was enthusiastic at the suggestion that Tower School should link with Ashton Heyes School in Cheshire, setting up correspondence between pupils and sharing life experiences with children 4,000 miles away!

A number of very sick and needy children were brought into clinic for Pauline to advise on future care. Children such as Isa, 4 months old, with severe malnutrition, cleft palate, and clubbed feet; Faith, 7 years old with extensive keloid scarring following burns one year ago. Funds were provided for both children to be referred to a children’s surgical hospital in Kampala.

Pauline and the team then went to inspect the physiotherapy department, where again, a number of seriously disabled and sick children were presented for advice. Here are a few examples.

  • Denis is 9 months old. He presented with webbed toes and fingers, a congenital heart defect, an abnormal hernia, early fusion of fontanelle and malnutrition. This child’s future is uncertain, and it is hoped that he can be referred to the neurosurgical hospital, CURE, as the first stage of his management. His future however is bleak.
  • Pius is 8 years old. He had normal development util the age of 5 years when he became unsteady on his feet and gradually deteriorated over a period of 3 years. He is now unable to walk, sit up, talk, or feed himself. He obviously has a progressive disease, and despite numerous investigations, a diagnosis has not been made. Pauline broke the news to his mother that there was no further medical intervention which could save her son. He has been put on palliative care and provided with immediate sponsorship to assist Pius and his mother in his last days.
  • Josephine is 2 years old with untreated spina bifida. She has been urgently referred to CURE, the neurosurgical hospital in Mbale.
  • Elijah is 18 months old. His mother is a teenager who eventually abandoned him. He was put in the care of a village guardian 3 months ago. Elijah was found to be severely malnourished, with sores on his hands and face and was obviously in great pain with swellings on both thighs. Xrays were ordered which showed fractures of both arms, both femurs and pelvis. This is obviously a case of serious abuse. He has been provided with pain relief and nourishing food and has been urgently referred to hospital.

On a lighter note, at lunch time the team met all 181 sponsored children and their guardians and provided them with a generous Ugandan meal of beef, potatoes, rice, matoki, peanut sauce and fried cabbage, finishing off with melon and pineapple. There was a wonderful party atmosphere and all the children looked healthy, happy, and well nourished. Child sponsorship has certainly saved and transformed many young lives over the years. The generosity and gratitude of the guardians was humbling to see, as they presented Pauline with many gifts, including 6 live chickens! These were given new homes!

To complete the first day, the team managed to visit 4 families to deliver maize, bedding, mosquito nets, clothing, and toys.

Day 2

Ready for another busy day, Pauline and Mike first went to the West Buganda Diocesan office to meet Bishop Henry and his advisors. This was a long-anticipated meeting where important matters pertaining to the future of the Wellspring Children’s Medical Centre were discussed. In addition, plans for the new Wellspring Rehabilitation Unit were displayed and explained, and received with great enthusiasm.

Our thanks go to Roman Strzala and his colleagues for drawing these plans for us in time for our visit to Uganda. These plans were taken to the local Planning Offices where they were approved by the town planners with only 2 minor alterations to be made. This means we can now approach builders for their tenders. It is hoped building will begin at the end of September.

Meanwhile, at Wellspring Beccy and Amelia were busily going through all the clothing and toys which were given so generously by Medcare supporters. Together, we drove to the Wellspring Home for Disabled Children where we received an enthusiastic greeting. All the children were waiting patiently for the meal which had been provided by Medcare for all the children in the home. The children were neatly dressed in their uniforms and looked happy and healthy. After lunch Beccy and Amelia played with the children and cuddled the babies. It was wonderful to see the children so happy. Even those with serious cerebral palsy were laughing at the games the others played. Hakim, the little boy with cerebral palsy who is a self-harmer, no longer needs his arms restricted to prevent him injuring himself. A remarkable change which demonstrates the extent of the love and care provided by Noeline for these very special children.

Our thanks also go to Samaritan’s Purse for providing additional funds to assist Noeline in the day-to-day care of the children. 

6 more village homes were visited in the afternoon.

Days 3, 4 & 5

Mike travelled home on the Friday, where he found his lost luggage at the airport!! This was brought back to the hotel where Beccy and Amelia sorted out the beautiful girls provided by ladies from Mike’s Church. These were successfully distributed over the following 3 days.

During the last 3 days of the visit, Pauline continued to review sick children in the clinics while goods for distribution were packed by Beccy and Amelia. The final 13 village homes were visited, often in isolated situations, with up to one hour’s drive to reach the homes. It is amazing how far desperate mothers will walk to find help for their sick children. Once we left the main roads, we drove on earth roads and down tracks which never usually saw vehicles! Such travelling was good to develop core muscle strength but not good for the spine!

All the families were delighted and very grateful for all that was provided. Children who only had one meal a day, consisting of ground maize mixed with water, were desperately hungry. A mother with a small baby was delighted with her mattress since she had been sleeping on an earth floor with no bedding for 6 months. A young teenager who was told we had managed to find her a sponsor cried with delight. She had been on the sponsorship waiting list for 4 years and had given up hope of any assistance.

The Wellspring staff are a wonderfully devoted, hard-working team. During our visit the waiting room was always filled to capacity, the ward had large numbers of patients being treated for malaria and the physiotherapy room was overflowing.

Equally, the Wellspring Home now has 47 children, despite being registered to hold only 42. This is because the police and probation officers are bringing abandoned children to have temporary safe accommodation until homes are found for them in the villages.

Medcare is extremely grateful to all our supporters and sponsors. Your generosity and continued support over the years has saved many young lives, and continues to do so, as witnessed by the Medcare team in July.

We would also like to thank our amazing volunteers, Beccy and Amelia, who never stopped working throughout the visit and brought so many smiles and so much laughter to children who often have very little to smile about.

Altogether, a successful trip. Thanks for your support and your prayers.


Pauline and Mike



29th August 2023

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