Morning starry sky in Matany with a tree in the foreground

A morning, starry sky in Matany.

A group of nurses march in a National Nurses Day Parade in Matany, Uganda.

International Nurses Day was celebrated with Mass and procession through town. For the first time ever in Matany, a brass band marched with the nurses.

Visit from the ministry of health

The Uganda Ministry of Health visited Matany Hospital earlier this year.

Students at the Matany Training Hospital pose for a picture

The nurse training at St. Kizito Hospital in Matany continues to be successful.

So, I wish you from the bottom of my heart this double experience: the joy of being expected and the joy of waiting – now, being close to Christmas – the bright anticipation of waiting for the coming of the LORD: GOD becomes man and HE wishes to remain tangible through our actions in the world.

Br. Günther Nährich

On Christmas, we celebrate the waiting of God on us. God can be found as well, in the New Year 2023

A letter from Br. Günther Nährich, St. Kizito Hospital Matany

The other day I returned home from work at the hospital, there was no one there. How different does it feel to come home when I know one of my confreres is waiting for me, or my dog Laika is coming towards me wagging her tail and overjoyed that I’m back.

It’s a nice feeling to be eagerly awaited, and it’s noticeable, for example, when I’ve been invited and I hear a warm “Welcome” from afar.

Well, in Advent, we wait for one who has been announced to us. Actually, HE is not strange to us – every year we celebrate HIS coming – we can experience HIS presence if we pay attention and turn to HIM and to those around us. I don’t know if GOD “needs” my waiting, but I feel I need both; HIS waiting for me and my waiting for HIM.

Waiting for beautiful and positive events always fill the heart with warm anticipation. But we also know the anxious thoughts in anticipation of problems or difficult tasks; then it happens that on my way through the morning darkness I am filled with worries as I stare dejectedly at the floor.

It’s dark again today. I leave the house in the morning, but this time my eyes don’t stick to the ground; It’s different today.

Shortly after getting up, I read the following lines from the prophet Isaiah: “Lift up your eyes and see: who created the stars up there?” (Is 40:26)

My gaze is directed to the sky. My body straightens and I discover the last stars of the morning sky. My thoughts go far. As people of “Advent” we are seekers and at the same time expectants.

I would now like to report a little about the events here in Matany over the past year. At the beginning of February, visitors from the Ministry of Health came to Matany. The Permanent Secretary and Director General received our annual report, which demonstrated the paramount importance of St. Kizito Hospital to the entire Karamoja sub-region.

At the same time, we informed the visitors from Ministry of Health about the precarious financial situation of the hospital and asked that the state subsidies be increased. We were promised a review of the possibilities, but we have not received any higher grants as yet.

It was also in February, that the Hospital Management Team met for a 2-day planning meeting in the guest house of Kosike Health Centre in southern Karamoja. The calm environment gave us the right atmosphere to develop a plan for the next five years. The plan was then approved in March by the hospital’s Board of Governors.

As we have been doing every year, we celebrated the International Day of the Sick on February 11th at St. Kizito Hospital. In the morning we celebrated Holy Mass with Bishop Filippi followed by the blessing of the hospital. In the afternoon, a colourful entertainment programme with dances, songs, plays and short speeches followed in the courtyard of the children’s ward. Our patients, their relatives and our staff enjoyed as well.

This year, for the first time, we celebrated International Nurses Day. This event was prepared with great enthusiasm by our nursing and midwifery team. The day began with a solemn mass in our church, followed by a procession through the streets of Matany. The procession ended in our training centre. Our nurses and midwives were accompanied by a brass band which was first time ever in Matany. Afterwards there was a colourful programme, some speeches and a good meal.

Throughout the year, many of our staff took part in various training courses and workshops (e.g., on resource mobilization or health-related topics). Others attended conferences organized by the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau. There have also been many trainings via Zoom, especially of recent, concerning Ebola.

We are grateful to Mr. Michael Knöpfle, who supported our team for two months through the Senior Expert Service. He supported us in regards to hospital hygiene, improving care during ambulance services and in the technical area as well.

My home leave in June and July was a welcome opportunity to visit family, friends and benefactors, as well as knocking at the doors of various organizations asking for financial support for the hospital. A few have agreed, and I am particularly grateful to friends and long-time acquaintances who generously helped. This is how we have been able to continue in the recent months, although -the expected and hoped-for- state aid has still not arrived. We recently asked again, and we fervently hope that the much-needed funds will arrive soon.

The purchase of new medical-technical equipment and machinery, makes it necessary to always have good contacts with the manufacturers, for spare parts. This is usually done in a proven manner via Dr. Friedrich. In addition, we have now employed a biomedical engineer whose training among others was funded by donations. He is very enthusiastic and we hope to get more stability in that area. Many thanks to everyone who supports us in our efforts to train young professionals!

With great pride, I would like to inform you that this year, both the training school and the Hospital obtained 100% in the accreditation set by the Catholic health network of Uganda. This is another proof that the services offered by the Hospital are of high standard.

As written at the beginning, it is a good feeling to be expected and welcome. It’s nice when someone is waiting for me and is there for me; in times of loneliness, illness, grief or when it comes to making important decisions.

So, I wish you from the bottom of my heart this double experience: the joy of being expected and the joy of waiting – now, being close to Christmas – the bright anticipation of waiting for the coming of the LORD: GOD becomes man and HE wishes to remain tangible through our actions in the world.

I sincerely wish you all the experience of security in GOD again and again.

Yours Br. Günther and Team

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