In 2003, a new clinic building was erected, allowing Wasswa to see more patients and expand her ministry. Hundreds of people from the Lubya parish attended the opening ceremonies, which was great encouragement to Wasswa. The building is brick with a metal roof, and many windows provide natural light. A large, open-air waiting area is ideal for the hot, humid weather. Inside the building, a wide hallway leads to a triage area, three offices, restrooms and a large treatment area.
Because the new clinic is so much larger than the shipping container, it has enhanced the work of the ministry. Previously, Wasswa would conduct community health training workshops outdoors or in a local school. Now, the open-air waiting room offers a more conducive learning environment, with medicines and equipment nearby. Also, the community health program has grown so much since the development of the new clinic that older community health workers are now training the new.
Wasswa began the community health program by training people living in the Lubya parish. She then placed these people in strategic locations throughout the parish. By doing this, the work was spread through many people into many areas. As those community health workers have taught proper hygiene and nutrition, the overall health of the community has continually improved.
As the community health work in Lubya continues to be self-sustaining, Wasswa has targeted the Muduuma parish for building up community health. Wasswa was drawn to the parish in 2002 due to the terrible living conditions. A central government clinic serves only a small portion of the area that has access to transportation and can pay the high cost for medicines. Immunization of children under five years was nearly nonexistent. The water sources were inadequate, and there were no maternity services. Over 50% of the population was infected with intestinal worms due to poor sanitary conditions.
Wasswa initially met with parish leaders and government health staff to explain her mission in reaching the people. The leaders were open to allowing her to help, so Wasswa was assured of God’s leading to the area. She began by conducting a base line survey of the area and meeting with local leaders to assess the survey. She also met with the water engineer of the district to discuss the provision of safe water to the community. After identifying and selecting traditional birth attendants to work with and asking for community health volunteers, Wasswa’s work in the Muduuma parish was well underway.
There are four communities in the Muduuma parish that Wasswa visits once a month. The villages are 20-30 miles apart, allowing access for most of the parish. Each village has a scheduled day so the villagers know when she is coming. On those days, Wasswa and her team of nurses, community health workers, staff and pastors travel an hour to one of the communities. Upon their arrival, they set up a pharmacy and consultation rooms.
Work begins at 10 a.m. and continues to 5 p.m. with no breaks. Wasswa leaves the makeshift clinic at noon to make 10-15 house calls. These visits are either requested by those coming to the clinic or are previous patients. Many of them are seriously ill with the effects of AIDS.
Other house calls are made to those who are under the Luke Society’s economic development project. Families have to qualify by being able to pay a small fee for a female pig and build a pen to meet standards set by Wasswa. On her visits, Wasswa checks the health of the pig and instructs the family on its further care.
Wasswa makes additional house calls when there are community health workers in the area. These people have been trained at the Luke Society clinic and are working in their own villages. Each community health worker is given a small box full of medicines they are trained to prescribe. They must charge a small fee, so when the box is empty, they have enough money to replenish their supply.
At the end of the day, the village women cook dinner for the Luke Society staff. It is their way of expressing gratitude, and it is greatly appreciated by the tired workers.
As Wasswa works in these villages ravaged by respiratory diseases, malaria and AIDS, she is continually faced with overwhelming compassion for the orphans left behind. As a side project to her ministry, she relocates these orphans into loving foster families. The children are given a quality education and encouraged to go to secondary school and follow their dreams.