CJTF-HOA Dedicates Ugandan Pediatric Clinic and Library
Members of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) joined Ugandan Ministry of Health personnel, municipality leaders and residents of the village of Kitgum to celebrate the dedication of a new pediatric clinic and a public library on September 23, 2008.
A ceremony marked the completion of a cooperative effort to bring a pediatric ward to the people of Kitgum. Local elders spoke of the many benefits the new clinic will provide by increasing the medical capacity in the region. Mr. Alfred Onony-Okara, Kitgum's District Commissioner said, "The government of Uganda is aware that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation; ill health is a cause of poverty and conflict. I would therefore like to appreciate that the U.S. Army has risen above addressing armed conflict, by also addressing healthhwhich I stated is a cause for conflict. Thank you again for this beautiful gift that will promote life and sharing among human kind."
The $390,000 project included the construction of a three-wing building containing a maternity ward, delivery room, and a pediatric ward. Previously, the residents of Kitgum faced a 2-hour drive down an unpaved road (subject to severe flooding) to reach a medical facility. With the opening of the new facilities Kitgum residents can now receive treatment from a local facility. In addition, the new Reading Room will serve as a professional development center, helping to increase the knowledge for the medical staff.
In a speech to the villagers of Kitgum, U.S. Navy Dr. Captain Paul Kane, Command Surgeon for CJTF-HOA, stated this type of cooperation is exactly the goal of CJTF-HOA. "Today we celebrate the completion of the Kitgum Hospital Pediatric Warddit's been our privilege and honor to work with the proud people of Kitgum and Uganda. The cooperation between our two countries has yielded similar projects, like this one, all over Uganda," said Kane. "These new hospital additions will help your doctors treat and save thousands of livesswe look forward to continuing the partnership between our two governments and working with the proud people of Uganda."
In addition to the clinic, members CJTF-HOA also dedicated a new $260,000 Public Library for the village of Kitgum. Mr. John Hoover, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, was on hand to preside over the dedication ceremony. "The library here in Kitgum will stand as a symbol of our (U.S. and Uganda) enduring friendship, cooperation and partnership." he said. "This library will make an important contribution to your community, by helping all citizens of Kitgum to develop their minds; this new community resource will contribute to the economic and social development of Kitgum."
Navy Lieutenant Trey Sicks, lead engineer for the construction projects, stated "These state-of-the-art facilities are vital to the relationship building efforts of CJTF-HOA and will go a long way towards changing negative perceptions about Americans in the region."
During the ceremony, village elders and local leaders thanked the members of CJTF-HOA for all the work they have done in bringing healthcare and knowledge to the people, and said they hope that the friendships forged between the United States and Uganda continue.