Healthcare facilities

The villages of Uganda’s rural north lack sufficient resources to deal with the psychological, social, and medical devastation wreaked by instability in the area for the last decade. Some children of age to enter middle school have never known a permanent home, and others have not known their parents. Ochan Self-Help Alliance is leveraged in two ongoing projects to alleviate some of this strain.

A Community Clinic

Many villagers were reluctant to leave the IDP camps where health, food, and security were provided by international aid organizations.  To encourage families to return home,  Opac clan leaders launched a community organization, Ocan Agenne Family Self-Help Community.  Through private donations, a police post (see below) and a building (see above) for dry goods stores.  One of the store areas became a small clinic.  As part of its partnership with this community organization, OCHAN helped the local clinic in its first year of operation.  Pictured is the opening ceremony of the clinic in late 2008.  Through the generosity of our donors, progress in the delivery of needed healthcare has been made to this village of 4500 households.

2009 OCHAN accomplishments in healthcare:

  • Care for 1250 patients, the majority of whom suffered from either drug-resistant malaria or diarrheal diseases.
  • The clinic provided life-saving drips of drugs and nutrients to patients.  It helped women in childbirth, and made house calls to the old and infirm.
  • Medical personnel were hired with salary support:–a medical officer, nurse/midwife, lab technician, accountant.
  • A makeshift laboratory was created and equipped with supplies and a microscope.
  • A roof gutter and rain tank were installed as there is no running water.
  • A signpost was erected near the main road with information  on services available.
  • Floor plans were drawn for expanding the clinic and building a residence for the medical officer.
  • Medical residence was completed.

OCHAN’s long-range plan is two-fold: 1) to assist this roadside community clinic to become as modern and efficient as possible in order to respond to the grossly under-served healthcare needs of this rural population; 2) to help the clinic realize self-sustainability in salaries, medicines, and services including referrals and transportation for more complex procedures  to  hospitals and clinics in Alebtong, Lira, and Kampala.

2010 OCHAN campaign in healthcare:

  • Complete the expansion of the clinic’s interior that includes wiring for and installing a solar light.
  • Purchase a gas or paraffin-powered refrigerator for the laboratory to store immunizations, etc.
  • Further develop  maternal/child services: pre-and postnatal care, pediatric immunizations.
  • Provide wards for overnight stays
  • Create a suite for labor/delivery/recovery services.
  • Create a pharmacy within the clinic.
  • Improve the triage of patients for service at the clinic or referral to hospitals with advanced services for treating such patient illnesses as cancer, cleft palate, complications of labor/delivery.
  • Expand laboratory space and continue to stock it.
  • Provide funds for equipment that can be locally bought such as a wheel chair, a stretcher, a resuscitator for use as needed with babies, and other necessary equipment.
  • Continue to support salaries of medical personnel.
  • Support HIV/AIDS counseling on latest drug regimens as well as measures for  thwarting mother-child transmission at birth.
  • Purchase a local furnace for safe disposal of medical waste.
  • Pipe water from a bore hole a half-mile away for clinic use.


On one side of this signpost is the main road between Lira and Dokolo; on the other, the clinic. ‘Ocan’ and ‘Ochan’ are pronounced the same. “C” in Lwo language is pronounced “ch”.

Here in America, we worry about the availability of quality and affordable healthcare for our families.  It is not difficult to imagine that this vibrant first ever clinic, available to all in the village, is a source of comfort and hope to a community yearning for peaceful resettlement after years of war and displacement.  OCHAN’s healthcare commitment in Opac is a concrete way to honor their motto: kel kuc pacu.  Bring peace home.

Psycho-social rehabilitation and counseling

Community rehabilitation home

Security and Mental Health: This facility was built through community support (walls) and individual donations (roofing) made to friends of Ochan Self-help Alliance and Ocan Agenne Family Self-Help Community, (a local community-based organization).  It primarily offers security to villagers nervous about returning home from  IDP camps.  As a Police Post with 7 members of the Uganda Police Force on site, it is the first step toward giving villagers the peace of mind needed for successful resettlement.

With time, availability of funds, and trained personnel, this building will serve not only as a center for community rehabilitation and counseling  to lessen the social conflicts and trauma resulting from mass displacement and increase in HIV/AIDS but also as a center for counseling, adult education, self-empowerment education, and law enforcement programs to help lessen the social chaos that can otherwise arise in zones of recent conflict.