3 new donations in Africa promote health, self-reliance

Rural areas and underserved populations to benefit from new medical supplies

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated wheelchairs, audiology equipment, hearing aids, a maternity ward and other medical equipment in three different countries in Africa recently.

These donations — done in collaboration with local agencies and organizations — are expected to improve patients’ health, mobility, quality of life and self-reliance.

Wheelchair donation and training in Rwanda

The Church worked with the Rwanda Biomedical Center and National Council of Persons with Disabilities to deliver wheelchairs and hold a training event on Oct. 20 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Over four days, local physiotherapists were trained how to assess people with disabilities to match them with the most suitable wheelchairs and other assistive devices, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.

The hospital technicians were also trained in assembling wheelchairs and repair of damaged wheelchairs. 

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities, said, “The Latter-day Saints have given us wheelchairs of the finest quality and have vowed to supply enough for our people in need. They have shown us a heart of generosity.”

Several people who received new wheelchairs or walking aids expressed their thanks and said the assistance will help them move around and carry out everyday tasks. They said their current devices were old and damaged, and that they could not afford to replace them by themselves. 

Audiology equipment and hearing aids in South Africa

Representatives from the Church give audiology equipment to the Western Cape Department of Health during a ceremony in Paarl, South Africa, on Oct. 21, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A collaboration between the Church and the Western Cape Department of Health will mean hearing-impaired people living in rural areas of South Africa will soon have access to new audiology equipment and hearing aids.

The comprehensive donation includes 136 different types of hearing aids which can be programmed depending on a patient’s type or degree of hearing loss, reported Africa Newsroom.

Previously, audiologists serving rural communities had diagnostic audiology equipment that was too old to be repaired and needed urgent replacement. Now they have new portable repair tool boxes, fully stocked with tools and supplies to make repairs to hearing aids. 

Specialists will also be able to use new equipment for newborn hearing screenings — including for the first time in some rural districts. This allows health officials to pick up hearing loss in babies as soon as possible, in order to manage language, educational and social development. 

Unavailability of equipment has required patients to travel to bigger cities for testing, but transportation problems and long wait times have been a burden. Health officials spoke about waiting a long time for resources for underserved communities. 

The health department’s Megan Davis-Ferguson thanked the Church for being so willing to listen to the delivery challenges of audiologists servicing the hearing-impaired community. 

“What is so encouraging about this donation is that it is tailored specifically to each district’s needs. … We will see the impact for a long time going forward,” she said.

New maternity ward and equipment in Uganda

Hospital beds donated by the Church to Bugembe Health Center in Bugembe, Uganda, Sept. 28, 2022 | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church constructed and equipped a maternity ward at Bugembe Health Center in Jinja, Uganda, reported Africa Newsroom

The health center serves about 60,000 people. The project was initiated to help women access quality healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth — which will significantly help reduce the mortality rate.

Jinja Uganda Stake President Moses N. Mbiro spoke on behalf of the Church at the handover ceremony on Sept. 28, saying, “God is using The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a vessel to bless His children in Bugembe.”

He emphasized the importance of charity among all the sons and daughters of God on earth.

Besides the new maternity ward, the donation also included beds, mattresses, trolleys, incubators, monitors, pulse oximeters, dopplers and other medical equipment.

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