SLTFUG’S UP COUNTRY PROJECTS
The profession of Speech and language Therapy in Uganda has gradually gained exposure and credibility over the years ever since 2008 when the first undergraduate training course was introduced in Makerere University. However, out of the 134 districts in Uganda, Kampala, Wakiso, Entebbe, Jinja and Kasese districts are among the few districts with full time practicing Speech-Language Therapists (SLTS) -a meagre 3% of the country’s population. This means that approximately 97% of Uganda’s population neither has access to nor has knowledge about SLT services and yet at least one in ten families lives with or has come in contact with a person with a communication or swallowing difficulty. In light of this discrepancy, SLTFUG sought to extend affordable SLT services and information to the latter percentage of the country’s population through the organization’s mission, “To make speech- language therapy services accessible and affordable in every region in Uganda.” This has been and will continue to be done through occasional outreaches to different districts across the country that do not have access to an SLT and eventually the establishment of monthly regional camps.
SLTFUG has had quite a number of such outreaches, two of which were held upcountry in Mityana and Masaka districts. The first outreach up country was held at the Mityana Community Development Centre in Mityana district on the 16th of November 2019. This outreach was supported by the Mityana Community Development Foundation through Ms. Catherine Taylor, the organization’s director in conjunction with Ms. Catherine Nakawunde, SLTFUG’s Team Leader. The community was mobilized by a radio advert that was run on the morning of the outreach (the advert was meant to run for the whole week leading up to the date of the outreach however that did not happen due to physical constraints). Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the mobilization, a total of ten clients accompanied by their caretakers came for the outreach. Each of these clients received free assessment and clinical advice as well as training for the caretakers in order to help them manage the conditions at home. The case load included; Down Syndrome, Learning Disability, Cerebral palsy, Dysphagia and Dysfluency. This outreach was self-sponsored.
The Masaka Outreach
The second outreach was held at facility of Okoa Refuge in Nyendo, Masaka on the 29th of February 2020. Okoa Refuge is a non-profit organization that takes care of orphans some of whom live in the boarding section of the facility and others within the community. Through the Sponsorship Program Coordinator of Okoa refuge, Ms. Kelsey Linduff, SLTFUG organized a one day outreach at the organization facility at a subsidized fee. Our team of professionals evaluated twenty children, some of whom lived in the home and others in the neighboring community. The children presented with different communication difficulties namely; Dysfluency, Speech and language difficulties secondary to Cerebral Palsy, Learning difficulties, to mention but a few. Each child received a thorough assessment and the caretakers of the children were equipped with therapy techniques to facilitate the continuation of therapy in the absence of the SLT. SLTFUG in collaboration with Okoa Refuge plan to have more of these outreaches in the near future. This outreach was coordinated by Ms. Kubita Joy, the Treasurer of SLTFUG.
SLTFUG aims at having more of the above outreaches all over Uganda. In order to support this cause visit the ‘How to Donate’ section.
As compiled by,
Ms. Cynthia Nagasha,