Kawolo Hospital, 40 km outside Kampala, the capital of Uganda, has been one of the first places to capture the Ganda Foundation’s attention.
This busy hospital was built in 1967, commissioned by former president Milton Obote. However, there has been no renewal of facilities, equipment or materials since that time! The hospital is located on the Jinja to Kampala highway, a notorious black spot for serious road accidents. Often multiple injury incidents overflow the two operating theatres, while dedicated staff continually struggle with obsolete equipment and a serious shortage of essential supplies such as drugs, sanitation equipment, linen and even mattresses.
Premature babies born at this hospital have greatly diminished chances of survival – the two incubators are pathetically old and damaged with broken glass, often heated by only one bare light bulb. There is a serious lack of staff — at the moment there are only four doctors to cope with a hospital of over 350 outpatients per day, in addition to the excessively over stretched inpatient burden, with crumbling infrastructure to add to their problems.
The Ganda Foundation has completed two days of evaluation at the hospital. Dr. Ivan, the chief medical superintendant at Kawolo Hospital, and his dedicated core staff, have given Foundation directors a comprehensive breakdown of the most urgent needs at the hospital. With numbers of patients increasing daily, it is a race against time.
The maternity ward, designed and built for 25 beds, regularly accommodates 50 expectant mothers, many having to lie on the floor. There are no consultants at the hospital, electricity bills remain unpaid, while the obsolete equipment still in use creates severe challenges for the staff on a daily basis.
American musician, Craig Pruess, one of the Ganda Boys and co-director of the Ganda Foundation, said after his October 2009 visit: “There is so much we can do. It needs to be done right away. The staff are very dedicated, and any direct help with equipment, even old second-hand equipment from Europe or America would go directly into immediate use.
It’s shocking, but there are not even enough rubber gloves or basic sanitary equipment at the hospital for day to day use, including a complete lack of modern operating tables, trolley beds, proper lighting or surgical instruments. There is a serious shortage of medicines and drugs, essential for operating procedures.”