Early morning is a busy time at Bwindi Community Hospital. On every day of the week ambulances are moving out of the gate taking our teams into the surrounding villages. Doctors and nurses cannot realistically hope to improve health in the community by waiting in a Hospital for sick people to arrive on stretchers. In order to make a real impact on overall community health, we have to be in every village, every church and every school, engaging with people in their own environment.
Bwindi Community Hospital is much more than just a Hospital where sick people stay to receive treatment. Our community teams make up a large part of the services provided by the Hospital. They:
- Teach in every school in the area at least once a term, and screen every child for dental problems.
- Take education and treatment to remote Batwa pygmy settlements each week.
- Immunise children in villages where there are no other services available.
- Attend church services every Sunday to sell mosquito nets at affordable prices.
- Bring health discussions directly into every household through weekly radio shows.
- Have trained volunteer health workers, called Village Health Promoters (VHP) in every village.
- Take HIV testing and treatment to places where the people never dreamed of receiving services.
- Enable women to get birth control without having to come to Hospital.
Every year a Household Survey of all homes in the Bwindi area is conducted to measure the progress of the Community Health interventions led by the Hospital. To see the latest survey click here
So many people in the Bwindi area cannot reach the Hospital because of the poor roads and the absence of public transport. We look after people who come from a days walk in any direction, and our outreach programmes reach out to the most remote parts of the Bwindi region.
Amazingly we struggle to raise the money to run these brilliant community health programmes. When visitors come to the Hospital they see our buildings and think that the people in Bwindi get decent health care. But if you travel into the local villages and see children collecting water from muddy pools, people who are too poor to have a mosquito net and Batwa pygmies without proper sanitation facilities you realise immediately that health improvement begins in the home. This is where we have to be too.
- Dr. Birungi Mutahunga, Executive Director