Next Planned Visits
Mhairi and Scottish team to Kamuli Sept 2016
Glyn and Brenda to Mubende Nov 2016
Glyn, Brenda and Brian to Kamuli Feb 2017
Mubende June 2016
For the second year in a row, the UCIF team were invited to join Dr Alphonsus in Mubende Hospital. With only 5 scheduled operating days it was a flying visit for Dr’s Mhairi Collie, Kate Darlow and Kristie Greene (visiting urogynaecologist from the US). Alphons did all the hard work organising the camp and triaging the women before our arrival, but was again supported by Dr Ian Assiimwe from Hoima. The team all thrived off the wonderful collaboration between the multinational team members. With the benefit of three operating tables and theatre staff happy to support us till late into each evening, we were able to operate on 47 women, including 22 fistula cases and 13 sphincter repairs. Almost all of the women have been able to be contacted at home a month after their operations and the outcomes have been extremely positive. Glyn and Brenda are making a farewell visit to Mubende in November 2016 and next year’s trip for the Scottish team has already been pencilled into the diary.
For an illustrated version with photos please see the reports section
Glyn and Brenda visited Kamuli for a very useful and enjoyable trip in February 2016. Around 25 patients were operated on with overall good results. Rather than dwell on the routine which hasn’t altered that much, what we noticed more than anything are the changes in Uganda, Kamuli and the Hospital itself. Starting with the trip from Entebbe to Kampala there are major road works everywhere. The Chinese are funding a dual carriageway expressway which will be a toll road. This will link with an extension of the partially completed ring road. Whether this will help the traffic remains to be seen as there is high class housing development springing up everywhere along the Entebbe road with traffic to match. Development in this area is everywhere and the country is indeed very obviously both very affluent in places and incredibly poor in some rural areas where the money doesn’t seem to have reached.
When we started going to Kamuli the road from Jinja had to be seen to be believed. It is no exaggeration to say that there were more deep potholes than road. Now over a period of years the whole road has been rebuilt and is wide and relatively fast (for the moment!). However it still leads to Kamuli which is a dead end although several hotels have sprung up. Along the road to the hospital there are also increasing signs of building and development.
The hospital itself has also changed with the help of the Rotary Club, Friends of Kamuli and UCIF. The ‘characterful ‘ guest houses with cockroaches, no hot water and bats hanging outside are no more and a new guesthouse with 10 rooms, ensuite facilities and dining room has been erected. The new fistula ward converted from a derelict theatre is fully in use as is the maternity ward. Covered ways link the wards and theatre. All very different to a few years ago. It does however highlight where more development is needed such as the medical ward which has seen little investment. To fully utilise these facilities and raise both the profile and money new teams are visiting Kamuli form India (general surgery) and Germany (plastics) bringing teams with them and some high tech equipment. Also western medical students, doctors, midwives and nurses are visiting in increasing numbers.
From our view point the biggest change is that funding is finally available from foreign agencies (Engender Health, Fistula Foundation etc) to allow hospitals to do VVF work and also to fund Ugandan Surgeons to do some of the work. This has/will resulted in three visits each year for 2 weeks at a time from teams based at Mulago alongside our visits.
We continue to work in the new environment as unfortunately despite all this effort just as many women with fistulas continue to present. Perhaps a change of emphasis worldwide is appearing to help prevent problems obstetrically and surgically in the first place.
It will be interesting to see how things progress in the future but as we look back over the past 12 years and consider the changes we can be proud of what we have achieved at Kamuli and our legacy in the work being carried on by Dr Matovu at Mubende and also at other hospitals all over Uganda. Whilst many things have changed for the better we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Living and operating in the old hospital was an experience of a lifetime and one that will live with us forever.
See before and after photos in gallery
Long Service Award to Sebastian Waibi
Recently the Rotary Club, represented by a member of the Rotary Club of Kyambogo-Kampala, presented Sebastian with a well deserved long service award. He has worked faithfully at Kamuli since before 1970 man and boy and this included difficult years (Idi Amin etc) when no expatriates were around in the 1970s and 1980s.
He has been the sole anaesthetic nurse for many years and for much of that time he has worked or been available an unbelievable 24 hrs a day 365 days a year !!!! It puts all of us to shame and this award couldn’t have been made to a nicer or more worthy recipient. Without him Kamuli Hospital and the fistula work would have collapsed long ago.
We add our congratulations and heart felt thanks.
Photos of the ceremony are in the gallery section.
Visit to Mubende Hospital November 2015
In November 2015 Glyn and Brenda visited Mubende Hospital. There are photos elsewhere on the website if you are interested. Mubende is about 150 km from Kampala on the Fort Portal road. This was a new experience for both as it is a government hospital and also in a totally different part of Uganda to Kamuli. The reason for this trip was that Dr Alphons Matovu who used to work in Kamuli is now a surgeon there and is doing VVF camps. It is a real pleasure when Ugandan surgeons we have taught and worked alongside continue to work and help VVF patients as their careers develop.
When we arrived there were around 70 women there who had come from some distance. Eventually we were able to operate on 46 and did further tests on another 11.
During the week we had two operating tables alongside each other and worked alongside Alphons but also Dr Ian Shane Asiimwe visiting from Hoima.
The hospital is a curious mix of old and ultramodern, recent developments having been funded by the Japanese . The operating theatres are lovely but during our visit the theatre lights were not working and there was only one portable light available. What Ugandan doctors can achieve with no light or a small headlight was amazing. Perhaps their eyes are both younger and better adapted! Often we worked on into the evenings upto 8pm although we did stop for everyone to eat twice a day. The food provided was extensive and amazing ! All the staff were very helpful and friendly and we enjoyed being part of the Ugandan team for the week rather than the leaders and organisers as at Kamuli. Glyn was also able to leave some new instrument sets with them.
All in all a busy and useful time which we really enjoyed once we got used to the different environment. We hope to go again next November.
Visit Report. Fistula Camp September 2015
Mhairi Collie our lead surgeon has just returned with her team from a very successful Fistula Repair Camp at Kamuli Mission Hospital.
The team included two other surgeons. Cathrine Reimers from Norway and Kate Darlow from Scotland. Cathrine on her first visit to Kamuli has considerable experience in fistula surgery having worked with MSF in Congo and also spent six months in Ethiopia. She has also trained with Brian in Northern Uganda. We are delighted that she has obtained a consultant post in O&G in Oslo. She is very happy to be back in Africa and we look forward to her being a valuable member of our team in future. Congratulations also to Kate Darlow who has just started as a consultant O&G surgeon in Melrose. This was her second working visit to Kamuli and she is enjoying the challenge of beginning the long learning curve of fistula surgery.
For Mhairi this was her ninth visit to Kamuli . She is up to full speed and drove the team on to complete all of the 28 cases that needed surgery in our five operating days. She was in theatre from 8a.m. till 8p.m and as if by a miracle finished the last case at 8pm on our last day. She was so patient in assisting Cathrine and Kate in many cases and also introduced a very keen resident, Dr Moses, to the surgery. We can trust him to look after our patients now we have left.
Brian made himself useful with intermittent visits to theatre, the ward rounds and some screening. It was also a chance to spend time with the Medical Superintendant and administrators to better understand the problems of running cash starved hospital.
On the nursing side we had Ishbel Campbell on her third visit and Christine Wood, a midwife, on her first. Last year we identified two bright Kamuli midwives whom we sponsored for Fistula training at one of the large Kitovu camps. We were so impressed with their skill and compassion in caring for our ladies. Their presence gave Ishbel and Christine a chance to leave the hospital for two a half days. Our first visit was to a community “Safe motherhood” education programme run by a local businessman. We were impressed and will continue some support. The other trip was to visit one of our cured patients at home with ex patient Loy. Loy is the leading fistula ambassador and teacher employed by the American NGO “Uganda Village Project.” It is only on home visits that one can appreciate how really bad the poverty is for many rural people.
On the social side we were delighted to be the first occupants of the new guest house completed just days before our arrival. With six ensuite rooms, a large kitchen and common room it was a massive improvement from our previous cramped and crumbling accommodation. We have to thank Friends of Kamuli Hospital based in Southern England for this. See www.kamulifriends.com
Our housekeeper, Maureen, cooked a satisfying Ugandan meal for us each day. Three of us were able to escape one morning with Moses, our driver, to climb Kagulu Rock, our local beauty spot deep in the rural countryside.
To conclude our very successful week we have to thank Dr Andrew Mulehedhu our Medical Superintendent, Fr Emmanuel ,administrator ,and Sr Immaculate for organising a wonderful party on our last night in the new house. We had food, music, dancing and a splendid cake to celebrate Brian’s 50th working visit to Uganda since his first at Kamuli in 1968, and also his 75th birthday the next day.