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TOMM 2018 update

Judy Brown

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TOMM Hannah Brown The Olive Medical Mission Uganda

Hannah and Steven

In 2013, 19-year-old Hannah Brown visited Uganda with her parents Robert and Helena. At a major hospital in the capital Kampala, she was horrified to see sick and dying people crowding squalid corridors, while families queued outside for treatment they couldn’t afford.

Hannah rounded on her parents: ‘You can do something about this!’ In response The Olive Medical Mission (TOMM) was founded with the aim of making healthcare freely available to people from the slums of Kampala. The Browns set up a small purpose-built clinic, staffed by local doctors and nurses, offering services such as immunisation, antenatal care, eyesight tests and health education. 

Five years later, the challenges are greater than ever. Shanty-town areas have spread without provision for sanitation, waste disposal or healthcare, and disease is endemic. Drug and alcohol-related problems have increased; families must choose between buying food and buying medicine. To deliver aid, TOMM must fight bureaucracy and prejudice, and has had to spend money on repairing rain-rotted buildings rather than patient care. 

The Browns have decided TOMM must change direction. The health centre will close, and in its place they aim to buy one or more 4x4 vehicles, capable of traversing storm-ravaged terrain, to equip as mobile clinics. These will bring medical services to outlying areas and will support other charities already working in Uganda with local doctors and nurses. Helena plans to teach basic healthcare and hygiene among shanty-town communities. Hannah is deeply committed to developing mental healthcare services, an area of huge need complicated by ignorance and prejudice, and she hopes to enlist local people who have overcome mental health difficulties to work with TOMM on this project. 

As a small charity staffed by dedicated, DBS-checked volunteers, TOMM spends all its income on services to Ugandan families in desperate need. It must raise money to buy and equip 4x4 ambulances and to rent storage space for donated supplies. If you can help or would like more information, please visit http://theolivemedicalmission.org/, email helenacb61@aol.com or phone 07731 518776. Leaflets about TOMM are available at the High Peak Foot Clinic in Whaley Bridge.