Bwindi Community Hospital (www.BCHC.ug) is set in the hills of South West Uganda, close to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home of half of the world’s mountain gorillas. It is a new Hospital in a poor, rural part of Uganda where previously malaria, malnutrition and HIV were the biggest killers. We have had success in reducing rates of malaria through the bed net program that I talked about, and have recently opened a high quality child health and nutrition unit at the Hospital – a 27 bed ward with a feeding/cooking area, a demonstration garden and a special care baby unit.
HIV is a big problem, but there are some things that can be done. George Bitti is a 50 year old retired headmaster who was dying from AIDS in 2004 – he was bedridden for almost a year. He sold his last piece of land to buy antiretroviral drugs, and started to make a recovery. Now he is fit and very, very well. He works in the HIV team in Bwindi as an ‘expert patient’ teaching others about the disease in schools, on the radio and in the Hospital. I lead an HIV/AIDS & TB team of 12 people who have tested 10,000 people for HIV in the last year, and look after more than 800 HIV positive patients in five locations. We have good access to ARV’s and are able to keep our patients alive and well with the disease.
I run the Hospital, and have been there for three years. It has grown from a small clinic to a medium-sized Hospital in a short time, and what used to cost $60,000 a year to run now costs more than $300,000. This is small by Western Standards – considering that for this we have a 60 bed Hospital, employ 80 staff, have a lab and x-ray, deliver 600 babies a year in the Maternity Unit and have a community health program that reaches into 250 villages through trained community health workers. But it is a HUGE amount of money for me to try to raise each year to keep the Organisation running.
We are really struggling for money at the moment. We do have a longer term plan to introduce a community health insurance so that the local people all make small contributions each month that provide a basic level of health care. In an area where many whole families live on less than $1 a day (and gas is now $5 a gallon, sugar is $2.10 a pound) this will not yield a lot of cash, but it is important not to be over-dependent on outsiders.
Anything that you can do to help would be really appreciated. We need money to pay the Ugandan staff who do almost all of the work, and will be able to give full accountability and receipts. For more information about the Hospital:
- Look on the website at www.BCHC.ug
- Watch the 5 minute video as a link from the site
- Read the annual report as a link form this site
- If you are really interested then the Strategic Plan and Budget for 2008/9 are also on the site
A small donation can go a long, long way. A larger donation can run an entire part of the Hospital
- A mosquito net that three children will sleep under to protect them from malaria costs $5
- $250 pays for a months salary of the nurse who runs the program that prevents HIV being passed from mother to child that I presented on Thursday at the conference
- The two Ugandan doctors who we employ in the Hospital are both superb, but it costs us about $1500 a month for each of them
- To run the entire HIV/AIDS education, testing, prevention and treatment program for a year costs $60,000
In the US there is a 501(c)3 organisation started by the Founder of the Hospital which sends 100% of money donated straight to the Hospital bank account. I approve all expenditure in Uganda, and we have a full-time accountant at the Hospital who is good and very tough.
Details on how to donate can be found at www.bchc.ug/how_to_donate.php. All donations are sent a receipt and are tax-deductible. We would send larger donors regular reports about the work that they were directly sponsoring.
Thanks so much for your help – and please email me any questions
Dr Paul Williams
Bwindi Community Hospital
Telephone +256 703342891
Click on this link to join the Bwindi Community Hospital ‘cause’ on Facebook http://apps.new.facebook.com/causes/119325?recruiter_id=18751895