Posted by Richard Mewhinney on Aug 19, 2019
Richard Mewhinney is a member of the Rotary Club of Newmarket and Chair of the Water and Sanitation Action Committee for District 7070. Pictured L to R:  Jeanette Minaker who introduced Richard to the Club, guest speaker Richard Mewhinney and President Doug Peterson.
The Ongutoi Health Centre, located in North Eastern/Central Uganda and the current project "Water Collection for Sustainability" is a project with proven success, sustainability and community engagement.  Since 2009, the Rotary Club of Newmarket along with clubs from District 7070, 9211 and beyond have been implementing different project phases to achieve great results.  The Rotary Club of Belleville has been involved through Chair Ruth Mathieson and her committee.  The project is a comprehensive one, to provide rain water collect and storage for an orange orchard.  Todate, the Health Centre operating expenses are provided through High Adventure Canada and their donor base.  While this has proven to be stable with sustainable revenue ensuring free health care thus far, as with any project, donor support is not a long-term solution.  The gross revenue from the sale of oranges produced will be sufficient to provide long term sustainability for the project and provide the money for free health care long term at the Ongutoi Health Centre.
The land for the orchard is located on the Health Centre site that was donated by the Village leadership.  In addition, many local people are directly involved in the Health Centre and this project in particular.  Phase One of the project saw 388 trees planted in November 2018 and Phase Two, another 404 trees were planted in April of this year.  In April 2019, a fruit processing plant developed by the South Korean and Ugandan Governments was opened with a current demand of 6.5 metric tonnes of fruit every hour.  Based on current pricing levels, the estimated NET revenue from the local acreage is established to be between $60,000 to $75,000 USD.  The impact of the Ongutoi Health Centre can only be measured in the lives that have been helped and the ongoing work that will be done.
  • Since 2007, in excess of 170,000 patients have been treated at no cost to the patient.  Ongutoi currently treats between 750 and 1,000 patients a month.
  • Ongutoi is the only facility where a patient can be assessed, receive a prescription and have the prescription filled at no cost to the patient.
  • In excess of 350 surgeries have been performed on an elective basis at no cost to the patient. 
  • In excess of 3,000 live births have occurred since 2011 with less than one percent mortality where previously the normal mortality rate was 10 percent.  On average, one birth occurs everyday at Ongutoi Health Centre.
Richard shared a video showing updated information on the project and was thanked by Elizabeth Grew on behalf of the Club.