2 Dec 2013

Moore on Uganda

Uganda: Kisiizi

In 2012 we met a lady at our Church in London called Anne Moore, she told us her story about moving to Uganda and working in Kisiizi hospital – helping to grow the maternity and paediatric departments.  We realised that we were currently only a few hours drive from this small town so we decided to head over to surprise her and see the good work she has done. 

We took the main road from Kabale but it was not long before the tarmac ran out and we were again making our way through small villages and bumpy roads.  The rolling hills in Uganda are a patchwork of different shades of green dotted with ladies and children in colourful skirts and warm smiles.  Every so often we would come across other cars which were meandering through the obstacle course of a road.  We took a video of one encounter where a very heavily laden pick up (which you could only just see the wheels of from behind) had started slipping in the mud and was tilting to one side with one of the front wheels in the air.  Without delay all 20 people jumped off the top of the pick up and started pushing it back on all fours.  Then, as quickly as they had got off, they all got back on again and headed off in front of us.

After an evening relaxing in the *Rose Cottages* we woke up early to join Anne and the staff and any able patients in the hospital church for a short morning service.  The pastor deployed some of the staff to hold services in the various departments and then gave a great sermon on what it means to be a Christian, followed by a song sung in Swahili – we were given a book and told “it sounds as it is written” – so we gave it our best shot!

Anne took us on a tour around the hospital and told us about all the changes that had been made and all the changes that were to come.  It was an impressive list of achievements in so many departments.  She showed us the mental ward – mental disability holds a high stigma here - and told us the inspiring story of a patient who, following treatment, had decided to work in the ward to help and encourage others as he was able to understand what they were going through.

We then entered Anne’s heartland – the children’s ward.  There were sections within the large room where children lay in complete silence not sure what to make of the mzungu visitors.  In a separate small room was an adult bed with the smallest baby girl in.  Her face was crying out for love but her body was under-nourished.  We learnt that her name was Annette and she was in fact a 4kg 7 month old baby.  Her mother was disinterested in her and would leave her alone (as she had done now) and not feed her or stimulate her at all.  Anne had tried everything to help the family and was visibly upset that the situation was not improving.  Anne told us that, as a result, they had started a program where families who couldn’t afford milk could get milk from the hospital.

The maternity ward was a crowded place where expectant mothers, recent mothers and babies in incubators all lay quietly contemplating their situations while the nurses buzzed around checking everyone’s status.  Anne explained that they were building a block of new housing for expectant mothers as there was not enough space for them in the ward – they would typically arrive early and from far away, but soon they will have a small place to call home while they await their new arrivals. 

The rehabilitation centre had been developed for disabled children to receive therapy, care and importantly – to play and learn.  This struck a chord with us as we considered the programme we would be working with in Jan 2014, Wukwashi Wa Nzambi in Zambia’s Copper Belt. 

But development was not restricted to just the wards and housing.  Kisiizi hospital had also utilised the local environment to their gain, installing a water power station that supplied much needed electricity to the hospital 24/7.  They also use this to gain revenue by selling electricity, cleverly solving the common issue of electricity cuts.

There had been ups and downs in the hospital here, but you could see what they were achieving in the community and how much was yet to come.  If you would like to read more or support this cause, please visit: www.kisiizihospital.org.ug or www.kisiizipartners.org.uk

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