This is my 10th year of regular visits to Uganda. It has been an exciting journey of personal learning and observing continuous change and development.
To take an obvious example, many roads here have been immeasurably improved in the last 10 years
As for healthcare, progress is often a bit slower and rather less obvious. However, there has been very real change, not least at Kamuli where my Ugandan medical career began. It is fair to say that the infrastructure we have helped to create there means it is barely recognisable compared to my first visit.
I’m delighted to report that the main focus of this visit is a major milestone in the transformation of a second hospital. Freda Carr, Ngora was once a leading hospital in rural Uganda but has since suffered a sad decline. It is in a much worse state than Kamuli was when I first visited. But all that is about to change. Once again, this is due to the combination of working with colleagues on the ground in Uganda, generous donations from those at home and support from Rotary. August 3rd 2018 sees the formal launch of a project to refurbish the maternity ward and the operating theatre and erect a water tower.
Interestingly FCNH was founded in 1922 by a Briton living in Nairobi in memory of the 12 yr old daughter he had lost. Here is a picture of the early beginnings – the first doctor doing an early outreach clinic.
Once again Bristol University has sent 4th year medical students to Kitovu and Villa Maria hospitals which provides the students with a unique experience and the hospitals with a welcome financial boost. There are plans to extend the visits to a third hospital next year.
Over the past seven years I have worked closely with a Ugandan, Dr Rogers Kabuye, who has been my cultural and technical guide and mentor. Without the benefit of his intimate knowledge of local healthcare, we would have achieved very little. Rotary Doctor Bank have recognised his contribution to our work by awarding him a Paul Harris Fellowship. This is Rotary’s way of recognising outstanding service. It was presented recently at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Kampala Central.
As you are still reading this, thank you for coming with me on this journey. Your support and encouragement have kept me going and there is still so much more to do.
Jim McWhirter, July 2018
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