Stephanie Van Dyke
The Engeye Health Clinic in Uganda is run by a small group of Americans and Ugandans, working to improve the living conditions and reduce the unnecessary suffering in rural Africa through education and health care. The entire clinic and two volunteer houses were constructed during the summer of 2006 at an estimated cost of $50,000. All of the funds came from the volunteer group’s personal monies and whatever donations it could collect. The Engeye Health Clinic’s founder, Stephanie Van Dyke, personally contributed the money that was left for her by her late grandfather to build the clinic.
Van Dyke and John Kalule worked together to establish the Engeye Health Clinic. In 2000, Stephanie spent time volunteering in Katooke Village in rural Uganda. There she witnessed the urgent need for the most basic medical care, inspiring her to pursue a career in medicine with the ultimate goal of building and running self-sustaining clinics in Uganda. During her visit, Stephanie met John, a native Ugandan for Ddegeya Village, who helped her adjust to the challenge posed by life in rural Africa. The word Engeye means “white monkey” in Ugandan and is John’s family clan name. The official Mission Statement of the Engeye Health Clinic is “To improve living conditions and reduce unnecessary suffering in rural Africa through education and compassionate health care.”
Spring 2007 was the first medical mission since the initial construction of the clinic. A small group of second year and fourth year medical students from Albany Medical College were joined by two physicians and a nurse to Ddegeya Village where they provided medical care to the villagers. Two additional second year medical students attended to head patient education, Lalithapriya Jayakumar and Julie Huynh. One of the doctors, Dr. Paeglow of Albany Medical College, was profiled in People magazine in 2006 for his charity work and community involvement.
During the spring 2007 visit, the medical volunteers conducted needs assessment studies within the village in order to better understand and serve them in the future. The project was an amazing success, and more than 750 patients were treated over eight days. The group was surprised with how well they were received by the locals and how many people they were able to treat or help transport to local trauma centers. The group discovered that they needed to bring more tropical medicine books to refer to in future visits, as Robbins and Harrison’s may not be specific enough for some of the infectious diseases in Uganda.
The spring 2007 visit marked the beginning of a sustainable healthcare system for the villagers and the next medical mission is scheduled for November 2007. In the meantime, local nurses and physicians will be available to help the people and provide them with necessary treatment.