SEVO volunteer tending to a trapped victim
SEVO volunteer tending to a trapped victim on the Kampala-Gulu highway

Samaritan Emergency Volunteer Organization
Uganda, Africa



SEVO Successes

In a recent celebration of Ugandaís independence, the Pallisa SEVO group joined a parade taking place in the town of Mbale, on the border with Kenya. There is a large hospital in Mbale but people cannot obtain services there unless they are able to pay, so there are many ill people laying around the outside entrance to the hospital, begging for funds for treatment. A mother had used up all the money she had bringing her child by bus from Teso, some miles north, only to find that she was unable to get him treated, as well as unable to return home. The SEVO members found this lady weeping helplessly near the Mbale hospital.

They took her to a nearby clinic where they successfully removed a foreign object from the childís nasal passages.
In another situation in Budaka, a Muslim man was brought to a local clinic in severe distress from a fish bone caught in his throat. He had not eaten or drank in several days, his head was thrown back, mouth open, with saliva running down the sides of his cheeks. No one knew what to do and traditional methods had not helped the man. So his friends and family were taking him up to the hospital at Mbale when the SEVO people heard of him.

A back slap did not dislodge the bone, so the SEVO people began to lay the man down on his side on an examining table. He suddenly began to vomit, so a SEVO member took advantage of the moment, giving a sharp push to his abdomen in the Heimlich maneuver, adding force which caused the bone to come out. The man found himself suddenly able to speak, even though his throat hurt, and he began running around, raising his hands in the air, praising Allah. Everyone was rejoicing and then someone thought to ask the man if he was hungry and thirsty. That began a flood of friendly helpers bringing him food and drinks, which he wolfed down. He insisted on giving money to the SEVO members, even though they initially refused it, saying SEVO is a volunteer organization.
In December 2007, after Director Hannington Sseruga did the initial Basic First Aid course in the new eastern Uganda district of Pallisa, he got 4 excited phone calls after he returned home. A taxi (a 14-passenger minivan) in that area lost control, crashed into a house, instantly killing a mother and child. However, the newly trained SEVO members were able to intervene and prevented several other losses of life in this accident.

When Hannington went to Pallisa district the first time to do SEVO training, the accommodations he'd been promised did not materialize. During his efforts to locate a training center and get a training started, a man on a motorcycle was seriously injured nearby in an accident. He suffered a compound fracture of his forearm, causing his hand to be pushed up close to his elbow. Hannington was able then to demonstrate how to clean off the exposed bone and wound, then setting the arm properly, and arranging for the victim's transport to a hospital 6 miles away. This greatly aroused the interest in SEVO training. Many people said that accident victim would lose his arm, or die, but he recovered 100%.
In a later training seminar in Budaka, Hannington was working in a local clinic for a brief time, demonstrating and assisting with first aid techniques. A large woman was brought in with a partial airway obstruction, in severe distress, back arched. The clinic had planned to simply start an IV on her and send her to a hospital 6 miles away, as they did not know emergency first aid. Hannington quickly assessed her condition, got her into a bent-over position, and gave her a blow between the shoulder blades. A bone was dislodged from the woman's throat and she recovered. People were astounded, and once again, interest in SEVO training skyrocketed!
One early morning when Pastor David Kasule and Margaret Nelson were traveling to Kampala, they encountered an ambulance screaming with lights and sirens going the opposite direction. Soon they came across a wrecked bus, laying on its side, with dazed and dusty passengers wandering around. Most of them had already been robbed, and the ambulance was transporting the wounded as fast as possible to a nearby medical clinic. Five people had died at the site when this bus, traveling at a high rate of speed, blew a front tire when it hit a pothole, and flipped on its side, sliding to a stop. Eventually it was said that 28 people had perished as a result of this accident. Most of the seriously wounded victims had been transported to the clinic, but David found one victim remaining inside the bus, trapped with his arm underneath a window post, trapped by the weight of the bus. If David had not known SEVO rescue tactics for entrapped victims, this man probably would have lost his arm and possibly his life as bystanders would have pulled on him to extricate him, probably ripping off his arm. But instead David got a metal bar from the busís jack and created a lever and fulcrum to raise the window post up off the manís trapped arm, extricating him. Then he and Margaret transported the victim with his mangled, bleeding arm, with a police officer, in the back of his pickup to the clinic. Then they returned to the scene to give info to the manís associates on the bus so his family could be notified of his condition and whereabouts.
Another time, Pastor David found a runaway, loaded truck which had run over a man on a bicycle. The man had broken bones, was seriously bleeding, and going into shock. David called Margaret to have her call the SEVO ambulance, and for advice. She told him to first put pressure on the bleeding to stop it, raise the legs (if unbroken) to prevent shock, and to splint the bones, in that order. The ambulance came and the victim was successfully transported to the local government hospital. Davidís brother was with him and did not want to stop to help the victim, so David offered to put him on a taxi to go on home if he wanted, but he was going to help. He probably saved the manís life.

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