TUSC (Transporting Ugandan Sick Children) is a small charity organisation that provides transport for sick and disabled children, pregnant women and others with health needs from villages around Jinja, Uganda to clinics and hospitals.
In November 2012 we raised enough money to buy our own van ("Billy Bus"), which enables us to do all of our work. Our service is completely free to use, helping to remove one of the first obstacles to getting timely healthcare for acutely or chronically sick children and pregnant mothers requiring ante-natal care.
TUSC helps to facilitate 'outreach' for follow-up care in villages and Ugandan communities.
We transport local health staff into villages to check on people with complex healthcare needs or who have defaulted attending for HIV/TB treatment, and to undertake immunisation programmes. During these sessions TUSC contributes to health promotion activities.
We also transport weekly a group of profoundly disabled children for physiotherapy and occupational therapy in order to enhance their health and self-care skills.
Wherever possible, we aim to educate and empower families to safely and effectively care for those around them with basic health knowledge and skills. Where appropriate we also provide health information, soap and mosquito nets (two vital life-savers).
Carol first travelled to Uganda in 2010, having an interest in health in developing countries that arose from her day-job as a health visitor in the UK. She quickly suspected that in Uganda a major obstacle to families accessing healthcare existed - transport.
Subsequent trips (during holidays) were spent exploring this suspicion, and many healthcare workers, village people and other organisations in Uganda confirmed the challenge. With careful planning and working with local people, TUSC was established in 2012, and fundraising began in the UK.
"The journey has been a massive learning curve and hard work but the reward of the joy that emanates from people in Uganda is immeasurable and nothing beats the site of a smiling child or the handshake of an elder. Linking in with other organisations is a brilliant way to expand the effectiveness TUSC's work and is mutually beneficial and professionally satisfying for me. Learning to know when to accept defeat and when to keep on tackling the frustrations that present themselves is challenging, humbling and fulfilling. I love being in Uganda and believe that the work of TUSC, despite its small scale, is valuable and worthwhile. The support of my husband, three grown-up children, family and friends should never be un-acknowledged." - Carol Mitchell
Weere Yakub is the 'man on the ground', driving our 'Nellie-Ann-Van', liaising with local organisations and more importantly, getting the work of TUSC known about in the villages.
Having previously been a community facilitator with another small organisation, Yakub has skills gained from that time. He brings with him an incredible understanding of village life, having been brought up far from any of the major towns by his mother (who is a peasant farmer, being unable to read or write). Schooling was erratic for Yakub but his abilities are abundant; he speaks numberous local languages, is now enrolled onto a part-time social work course at university and is able to engage with people from all areas of life.
When asked about working with TUSC, Yakub states that the best and most important part is, 'saving people's lives' ..... his care towards his country-people is patently clear and his understanding of the obligations and restraints that are all part of running an organisation enable us to do our work with confidence.
Yakub's passions are family, football (Burnley FC) and music.