Karen Alford is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Mbarara, Uganda since the beginning of January of 2017. Before that, she served in Indonesia for nine years, providing earthquake and tsunami relief, as well as treating patients and building a long-term community health program.
Now Karen is partnering with Medical Teams International (MTI) in Southwest Uganda to help meet the medical needs of incoming refugees. She works in the Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements which serve an estimated population of 120,840 refugees mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
The most vulnerable populations are pregnant women, lactating mothers, newborns and children under five years of age, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities and the elderly who need special consideration in order to access critical health services.
Karen sees patients and focuses on capacity building local medically trained staff. Some clinics see upwards of 500 patients a day with only 2-3 clinicians to see that many patients! She also works with MTI’s newly opened fistula repair clinic to find and refer women in need of fistula repair services and then follow up with their post-surgical care. Women who suffer from fistula as a result of maternal complication or sexual violence are identified and referred for treatment and psychosocial services. As program advisor, Karen supports the effective implementation of health projects by advising and facilitating program development, reporting and evaluation of MTI’s projects and contributes to health staff development through training and technical guidance, and by supporting effective monitoring and evaluation systems of the health clinics. Most importantly, Karen supports development of MTI mission and vision to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.