News Release

Partnership Gives Hope to the Immobile

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has in partnership with the Ministry of health donated 350 wheel chairs to the National Wheel Chair Committee of Uganda.

The project which began March 27th, was underway for seven days, and culminated with a handover on April 4th at the Church’s chapel in Kololo.  Dr Asuman Lukwago, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, spoke at the handover and reminded everyone of the importance of programs like this one.  He stated, “It is estimated at there are 1.5 million people with disabilities in the country.” Wheelchairs will help the immobile become mobile again.

The first two days of the project, 17 clinicians and technicians who participated in the program three years ago were retrained.  Following the retraining, 20 additional clinicians and technicians from various hospitals throughout Uganda arrived to receive training and then applied their practical skills to assist 25-30 assessed and screened patients to be fitted for a wheelchair.  Following this week of training and practical experience, the clinicians and technicians will be used throughout the country to fit patients to chairs and adapt the chairs for patient use.

Three years ago the Church donated 350 wheelchairs to the National Wheelchair Committee.  The recent donation marked the first of three donations that are anticipated over the next three years. When 60% of the chairs from this shipment have been distributed to patients, the second container shipment will be requested.  Each shipped container holds approximately 350 chairs, depending upon whether it contains chairs with 3 wheels, chairs with 4 wheels, or specialized chairs.

The project was headed by John and Marcia Dow, in conjunction with Elder and Sister Hannan who are serving as Humanitarian Missionaries for the Church in Uganda.  The couples were assisted by Tyler Huish and Stephen Hunter, both clinicians trained to fit the patient to the correct chair; and Steve Clark and Chris Christensen, technicians that assemble and make adaptation to the chair for the patient. The two clinicians, the Dows, and the two technicians are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the United States and volunteer their time to help with the project. John Dow commented, “The purpose of the project is not to bring chairs or trainers, but to prepare Ugandan clinicians and technicians to carry on the program.”

The handover was attended by beneficiaries, international guests, government leaders, representatives from the media, partners, and members of the Church.

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