hmpg_feature_batwafamilyDear Friends,

If you are like me, you may find that reading through your Facebook feed has become very painful of late.  Right now there is so much frustration, anger, fear, and pain in our country.  These days, we see very few smiles, and feel precious little joy.  It’s easy to become discouraged; it feels like there is so little we can do.

But one thing you can do is support the Batwa people.

The Batwa are a wonderful tribe of pygmies in rural Uganda. Traditionally, they lived in the rainforest and were primitive hunters and gatherers.  All that changed when their government forced them out of the forest, as part of the creation of a world heritage site for silverback gorillas.

When the Batwa were evicted from the only life they have ever known, they were left to fend for themselves with no food, no land, no resources.  As a result, they began dying at an alarming rate, especially children under the age of five. That’s when Dr. Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol were called to Uganda to help save the Batwa.

When Scott and Carol first arrived, the Batwa were suffering and dying.  They held clinics under trees, hanging life-saving IV fluids from the tree branches.

Through the Kellermann Foundation, the organization started by Scott and Carol, the lives of the Batwa are beginning to look bright.  The Kellermann Foundation has created a Batwa Development Program, which has purchased land for the Batwa to live and farm, has built schools and sponsored the education of Batwa children, has built homes for Batwa families, has sponsored water and waste projects, and has set aside a small part of the rainforest where the Batwa can maintain their culture and pass on their traditions to future generations.

The Kellermann Foundation has also built a hospital, the Bwindi Community Hospital, which has been recognized as the top hospital of Uganda.  There, doctors from around the globe come to learn from, work with, and teach Ugandan doctors.  The hospital has had some astounding successes:

  • • In rural Uganda, many women attempt to deliver babies at home.  If their delivery fails, they are left struggling to find a hospital that can perform an emergency cesarean section.  The complications can be significant, such as death of the mother, death of the baby, or vesicovaginal fistula, a communication between the bladder and vagina, which causes continuous leaking of urine.
    • o The Bwindi Community Hospital has created a Women’s Dormatory, where pregnant women can come to stay at the end of their pregnancy to be near the care they require at the end of their pregnancy.
    • o They have created a voucher program where a woman can receive prenatal care and a delivery for the equivalent of 1 US dollar.
    • o The hospital now delivers 1,200 babies annually.
    • o They have built a pediatric ward that not only treats children, but has a demonstration garden where parents can learn how to grow nutritious foods and a test kitchen to teach mothers how to prepare foods to help their children thrive.
    • • The public health efforts of the hospital, and their HIV/AIDS clinic, have brought the HIV/AIDS rate in the community below 5%.
    • • They have built a nursing school—Uganda Nursing School Bwindi—that trains nurses to improve healthcare delivery throughout Uganda. This year, the first Batwa student is entering the nursing school!

But the Batwa, the Kellermann Foundation, and the Bwindi Community Hospital need your help to survive.  We would love for you to visit the hospital and see the work they do; however, if travelling to Uganda is not in your near future, please consider supporting the Kellermann Foundation financially.

    • • $225 can treat a malnourished child.
    • • $750 can provide primary education, materials, uniforms, and transportation for a Batwa child for a year.
    • • $1,250 per year can support a Batwa child through secondary school.
    • • $1,400 can build a house for a Batwa family.
    • • $1,500 per year can provide tuition, housing, and materials for a nursing student.

The Kellermann Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity.   It has received a Gold level from GuideStar, and is a “Top-rated” charity by Greatnonprofits.org.  You can support the Kellermann foundation by direct donation, or can support them through Amazon Smile.

I first met Scott Kellermann in 2015 when he visited Park City, Utah.  I have done medical work all over the world, but was so impressed by the work that they have been doing that I visited the hospital in 2016.  This year, I have decided to volunteer as an unpaid board member to help protect the Batwa, and to improve the state of healthcare in their region of Uganda.  I hope you will support us.

In these tumultuous times, you may not be able to change the results of an election, or correct the wrongs of our society, but you can help the Batwa. And that’s something worth smiling about!

Thank you,

Andrew Nyberg, MD MPH

Board Member

Kellermann Foundation

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