Karen Alford is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Mbarara, Uganda beginning in January of 2017 after serving in Indonesia for the last nine years, providing earthquake and tsunami relief, as well as treating patients and building a long-term community health program.
Karen will be partnering with Medical Teams International (MTI) in Southwest Uganda to help meet the medical needs of incoming refugees. The medical program she will be helping with in the Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements serves an estimated population of 120,840 refugees mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda with some coming from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia as well.
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.
In Uganda, Karen will be seeing patients and capacity building local medically trained staff, promote health at the community and household level among long term refugee families by working with a team to provide community education and home visits, identify and register pregnant women, and carry out community surveillance. She will also oversee and work with MTI’s program to promote prenatal care, skilled deliveries, postnatal and new born care, and an effective referral system to prevent maternal and neonatal death as well as reducing complications such as fistula resulting from prolonged labor.
She will be working with the 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 will be identified and referred for treatment and psychosocial services. Karen will also be supporting the effective implementation of health projects by advising and facilitating program development, reporting and evaluation of MTI’s project.
She will collaborate with MTI staff to promote and contribute to health staff development through training and technical guidance, and by supporting effective monitoring and evaluation systems for key health projects. She will help build local staff and partner capacity by providing or training staff in project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation and health methodologies, and establish collegial, mutually beneficial relationships, and share knowledge and expertise with MTI, partner and donor staff where appropriate. And most importantly, Karen will support development of MTI mission and vision to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.