(PORTLAND, Ore.- Jan. 24, 2008) This week, Uganda's government issued an ultimatum to LRA leader Joseph Kony: Sign the peace agreement or risk a return to war. While peace hangs in the balance for hundreds of thousands of displaced families in Uganda's northern region, Felix Omodi, a former captive of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), begins a U.S.-based tour to discuss how Ugandans are surviving decades of war and fragile peace.
In Portland this Friday, Omodi is presenting at "An Evening in Uganda," a benefit to support Medical Teams International's work in the country. As the organization's Uganda country director, Omodi directs HIV and AIDS programs and clinic rehabilitation projects in northern Uganda. His presentation will address how relief workers are helping Ugandans heal and recover from chronic conflict, disease and homelessness.
In the last 36 months, an emergency health care program in northern Uganda has provided medical care, immunizations and education for 144,000 displaced people.
Two health centers damaged in the war have been refurbished and 265 Ugandan village health workers have received training. These workers, in turn, will monitor the health of their communities and provide training to mothers and their children, impacting an additional 228, 131 Ugandans.
A new community health center which offers youth-friendly services to prevent HIV infection and promotes healthy behaviors recently opened in Ogur, an area that has suffered high rates of HIV and AIDS due to the war. Ugandan staff have provided HIV and AIDS testing, counseling and care for more than 2,400 people since mid-October. An additional 4,800 have participated in education prevention classes using drama, music and sports.
Prior to his work with Medical Teams International, Omodi implemented health projects for the Jimmy Carter Center and World Vision. Sponsored by the Maybelle Clark MacDonald Fund, the evening event also features remarks by Oregon volunteer Megan McAninch, a 19-year-old who has traveled to dozens of countries, including service in Uganda, Moldova and New Orleans.
Omodi is available for additional interviews through Feb. 12. Photos and b-roll of Omodi in Uganda by request.
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 27-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,600 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.