Uganda - The Hospital at Kitovu (2011)

This paper was prepared for the "Avenues of Service Awards " International, 2011. Each year clubs in Rotary Wessex nominate Avenue of Service Projects as examples of Rotary demonstrating service before self.

The International Award was won by RC Guernsey as a result of the efforts of, most particularly, , who initiated and managed the project and who received the award on behalf of the Club at the District Conference. David Mortimer drew up the paper and it was edited by Jannine Birtwistle. ......


Project Name

Improvements in Provision of Healthcare, , .

Project description

is a not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organisation.  The project was undertaken to enhance the obstetric and surgical facilities.

Project Aim

The aim of this project was to improve and sustain the healthcare for mothers and babies in southern central Uganda.  The intended beneficiaries are the people of Masaka, the wider community of Uganda and patients travelling from as far afield as Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Before this project was instigated, the existing hospital facilities were typical of those of rural healthcare and were inadequate for the demands placed upon them, in terms of theatre accommodation and all supporting facilities including staff training both in maintenance of the limited equipment they had and in the use of that equipment.

This significant project was designed to improve all aspects of these surgical facilities and to cater for the huge demand for earlier and safer obstetric interventions.  In particular, to cater for the need for surgical procedures for women who sustain injury during childbirth, exacerbated by poor or non-existent obstetric care in the villages, and especially the prevention or repair of vesico-vaginal and recto-vaginal fistulae. 

Obstetric fistula (or vaginal fistula) is a severe medical condition in which a fistula (hole) develops between either the rectum and vagina (rectovaginal fistula) or between the bladder and vagina (vesicovaginal fistula) after severe or failed childbirth, when adequate medical care is not available

The project was started by Rotarian Dr. Tim Peet in early 2008 with the support of the entire Club.  Dr Tim was familiar with the country, having visited on a bi-annual basis for six weeks at a time for at least ten years as a practical surgeon and tutor, supported by Rotary Doctor bank.  This intimate knowledge of the culture and traditions meant that the programme of development and support that Rotary Club of Guernsey (RCG) initiated through Dr Tim has been truly tailored to meet appropriately the local and specific needs.  This project has been, and continues to be widely welcomed, applauded and respected because of the enormous impact it has had on so many people (carers and other health professionals, patients and families from a broad and varied spectrum).

Project Leaders

Rtn. Dr. Tim Peet, MBE, FRCS      Rotary Club of Guernsey

Dr. Maura Lynch FRCSI                 Kitovu Hospital

Rtn. John Steven Muwange          Rotary Club of Masaka (Dist. 9200)

Rtn. Sister Helen Aherne               Rotary Club of Masaka (Dist. 9200)

As well as providing his professional expertise and acting as Project Leader, Dr. Tim Peet acted as the essential link between the Rotary Club of Masaka and the Rotary Club of Guernsey.

Project outcomes

Our Club's involvement with this Ugandan community has been longstanding, beginning in 2008.

The outcomes of the hospital project were:

  1. Reroofing of the surgical theatres (see Photo 1.)
  2. Provision of lighting for the theatres (see Photo 2 and Photo 3)
  3. Provision of medical equipment to assist under five main headings :
  •  anaesthesia (oxygen concentrators) and patient examination (blood pressure machines, weighing      scales).
  •  safe delivery (vacuum extractors, sterilising autoclave).
  •  laboratory support (haematology autoanalyser, laboratory microscope)
  •  ward equipment (hospital beds, maternity delivery bed, phototherapy lamp for neonates).
  •   what may be regarded as revenue items, e.g. 200 (new) surgical gowns and baby clothes for neonates, insulin syringes,chest drains, X-ray cassettes, etc.).

(See Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6 and Photo 7)

Groups who have been involved in setting up and running the Project


            Rotary Club of Guernsey

            Inner Wheel

Rotary Club of Masaka

A group of Rotarians and partners from Guernsey visited Uganda in 2009 (at their own expense) to see the project at first hand.

How is the project funded

tage 1 (2007 to 2009) involved the re-roofing of the surgical theatres, to which the sum of £28,085 was contributed. Stage 2 (2009 to 2010) involved the provision of theatre lighting costing £15,600. Stage 3 (2010 to 2011) involved other identifiable capital expenses, amounting to £26,200.

This sum of £69,885 was raised by:

  • Persuading Guernsey Government's Overseas Aid Committee to contribute £20,000
  • Obtaining a Rotary District matching grant with over £19,000 from RCG and £4,775 from DDF and increment from The Rotary Foundation
  • Donations from individuals and companies
  • Various and numerous fund-raising events in Guernsey involving members of RCG and the public

In addition, Rotary Doctor Bank provided funds to enable Dr. Tim Peet to actively participate in teaching and operating in this hospital. 

What next? What are the plans for continuing, completing growing the Project?

As far as the Rotary Club of Guernsey is concerned, this part of the project's aims have been met.  The following was received from Dr. Antony Nabukalu, the Medical Superintendent :

"On behalf of the entire Kitovu Hospital community, allow me to convey to you our heartfelt thanks for the support that you provide to our hospital.  In a special way I thank you so much for availing us with the opportunity to equip our hospital with new medical equipment. We really appreciate."

However, the need is never-ending and more facets of this need are becoming apparent.  Inevitably, the equipment provided will wear out or break down and it is hoped that, between them, Dr. Peet and Dr. Lynch (at Kitovu) will be able to assess requirements and that the Rotary Club of Guernsey will be able to continue its involvement with this Hospital and the community in the village of Masaka.

Dr. Tim Peet will revisit Uganda in 2012.

How might the Project be sustained if Rotary pulls out?

The hospital is not reliant on RCG (or Rotary generally) but obviously has been able to move forward significantly because of the involvement of RCG.  A key part of the support and development that RCG has provided has included ensuring that training is given in the use and maintenance of the equipment supplied.  The Rotary Club of Masaka is also involved and if RCG withdrew from further assistance then RC Masaka may well approach other Rotary Clubs in the world for help with Matching Grants.

As stated, as far as Rotary Club of Guernsey is concerned, the aims of this particular aspect of support and development have been met and this project is completed.  As and when new needs are identified, the Club will do whatever it can to raise the funds, as it has done very successfully in the past and provide expertise and support from Club Members to ensure success.

Any other information that might be relevant

In addition to the hospital project, the Rotary Club of Guernsey has funded :

  • The hospital's Nutrition Unit (for malnourished children) for one year (see Photo 8).
  • A village rainwater harvesting project (see Photo 9) and
  • The building of a workshop for the disabled in Masaka (in conjunction with other groups).

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