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We are so thankful to God that none of at least 8 people in the cars was seriously injured.
With the front end gone, our car isn’t worth repairing.
We really need a new car! Our only car in Uganda was destroyed a few days ago in a highway accident. Nobody was seriously injured, but the car is nearly a total loss. All told, the accident will cost us $5000 in damages to the other parties, which we need to raise immediately. Not counting the loss of our own car.
But we also must raise funds for the big new car needed for traveling to the twenty-two remote villages where we do our ministry. An older, second hand Toyota LandCruiser VX or Range Rover Discovery will cost about $20,000 here. Our team, which includes staff, volunteers, and church leaders, have to travel over wild, rough roads, rivers, and mountains to reach the people we serve.

What Do We Do In Our Health Program?

As we continue our series on the subjects in our adult literacy curriculum, we move on to Health. But our health curriculum extends beyond our literacy classes and into local schools and communities with direct involvement by our team.
In the literacy classes, we teach about health in order to turn each student into a community change agent. We want them to have healthier lives and families, but also to teach all their neighbors how to live healthy and well in a wholistic way. From first aid to knowing the early signs of illness in time to get help, to hygiene and nutrition, we help our students to gain a deep understanding of how they can take charge of their health themselves, instead of allowing ”fate” to take their lives.
Many diseases that are no longer regularly seen in developed countries still plague the villages where we work. But most of these can be almost completely avoided with simple knowledge and changes in personal hygiene habits. Diarrheal diseases including cholera and typhoid kill many children, and even adults. Malaria, in addition to killing children, keeps many adults from working productively. Pneumonia is a silent killer. Smoke from cooking fires is a primary factor in setting up the conditions for pneumonia, helping it to kill even more than malaria. Worms sap productivity and stunt growth and intellect. Skin infections cause misery and lower self-esteem. And preventable injuries can be devastating in a place with no access to emergency health care. All of these problems can be reduced or eliminated with knowledge and good choices.
The DCI Health Program covers content areas including first aid, food and nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, safe water, maternal and child health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, immunization, and family planning, among others, keeping in mind that health advocacy and lifestyle change are the primary goals.
Some things might seem minor, but they have a very great impact on so many lives and communities. When a cure is unattainable, an ounce of prevention is worth everything.
Outside of the literacy program, we have also developed a program of health education through school and community visits and weekly radio talk shows. Jabez Banan is our longtime health programs director. He is a comprehensive nurse and midwife, holds a degree in hospital and health administration, and is certified as an ophthalmic clinical officer. Jabez has created a carefully planned series of visits to schools in the community to teach both students and teachers about a wide range of health issues. He conducts a similar program with communities, including village leaders, as many local people as possible, and a model home and family to be an example of what is being taught and discussed. Through this process, we develop a long-term relationship with each school and group of villages. This is essential to creating lasting change and encouraging people to change their lifestyles and become community health advocates themselves.
A school visit might include building up a student healthy living club , or a discussion on typhoid or a current health issue in the community. At a recent visit to Kaptokowi Primary School, the students discussed the problem of hygiene when there is a water shortage. Due to a recent drought, each child is required to carry a heavy jerrycan full of water to school. But with rationing, they were concerned that hand washing and cleanup were being reduced. They connected this situation to an increase in diaharreal illnesses. DCI’s nurse often carries drugs, dewormers, and other tools for a field clinic, giving the children and adults much needed basic primary health care, checkups, and referrals.
Jabez with students at Kaptokwoi Primary School
Jabez demonstrates the big idea to women at Legatet
Community visits often contain similar teaching material, but include a vital blend of elected and clan leaders, respected families, and all the neighbors they can bring. This part of the program began when local leaders saw the benefits of the school visits and asked us to help the families of the students as well, ensuring change for the whole community.
Discussions can challenge community taboos and attitudes. Chelimo, a wife in Legatet, told the group at a recent DCI visit that she is frustrated because of local attitudes about contraception. She said, “My husband believes the use of family planning leads to infidelity since it prevents me from getting pregnant.” She says that most women have more children than they can afford because of this idea. All the other women sounded their agreement with her. They also challenged the culture of men not being involved in maternal health visits and parenting. The discussion also included the complex choices involved with family planning methods, including side effects, effectiveness, costs, and myths about their use. But Jabez also asked the men to think about what they really want and how planning might help them to use resources and provide for their families.
In addition to the direct community intervention, DCI hosts weekly radio talk shows both in Kapchorwa and Mbale, cities of different tribes and languages. These shows include a talk about a specific health issue each week, often with a special guest joining Jabez, and then a popular call-in time when many people from the villages call in with questions and discussion.
Our primary philosophy about health at DCI is that the most cost effective and healthiest way to improve the health of all members of the community is to share knowledge and build lifestyle habits, instead of later needing to treat many preventable conditions and diseases. Long-term relationships build trust and accountability to support new ideas and ways of life. As we build funding, this system can be spread over a wide area, reaching many with God’s love for them and their bodies.


DCI has been developing our programs with Ugandan churches for more than a decade now. We have learned much, and we have a lot of experience. Our Ugandan staff are ready to grow. But we must raise funds to do so. Right now we are ready to go with classes in 13 more villages that would serve nearly 500 families. Those classes cost about $200 per month each. Or less than $7 per student per month for three years. This is a bargain price for a program that so radically improves the lives of people and their communities. A DCI education prepares adults to read the Bible and to continue learning on their own from other sources. It also prepares them to participate in the future of a country which may face drastic changes and decisions as the mostly-young population grows up. We welcome regular, sustaining donations, one-time donations and group donations. Each person who contributes becomes part of our team, providing vital skills to adults eager to experience new opportunities to participate in their communities and strengthen their families.

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