July 2014

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June 2014

Bwindi Community Hospital

Little Jackline’s Life saved!

Surgery for young children is still a challenge in rural Uganda where appropriate facilities and skills maybe inadequate.

Success stories like the one below help demonstrate the importance of our services, and motivate us to continue striving to improve.

Jackline, a seven year old girl from Kihihi, had been unwell for three days with abdominal pains, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Her mother, Agnes Niwasiima, first took her to the private health unit in Kihihi about 50km (and a two hour drive) from Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH).

While at the clinic, Jackline was diagnosed with malaria and was started on treatment.

Unfortunately her condition did not improve even a single inch. She was later referred to us. While here, our team of doctors were able to assess her thoroughly and discovered that part of her intestines had slid into another causing blockage of flow of food.

Jackline and her mother arrived at the hospital at about 10pm and were taken to the child health unit. She was later rushed to the operating theatre, and the doctors started the procedure. It took nearly 2 hours to correct the problem. Back on the ward, Jackline was a very sick little girl, and needed a lot of care from our nurses. Soon, however, she began to reward our surgical and child health teams with signs of improvement.

Day after day with the help of our teams and her caring parents, Jackline improved; her

intestines started working again, and she was allowed to feed. Ten days later, Jackline was discharged all smiles.

Stories like Jackline’s are not uncommon here. They bring joy to not only the patients and their relatives but also to us as we come face to face with the challenges and rewards of surgery for young children in Bwindi.

We are grateful to Jackline’s mother for allowing us to publish this story and use her picture.

Jackline plays with other children before discharge.

A volunteer’s experience at Bwindi Community Hospital

It is 8am. The sounds of singing in Rukiga (the local language) and the beat of drums and clapping hands ring in your ears. In every direction you look are steep green hills draped with tea and coffee plantations.

A pregnant mother walks past me with a child strapped to her back and a huge bunch of matooke balanced effortlessly on her head. This is Uganda and it is beautiful.

Almost every morning starts like this here at BCH. Monday to Saturday is a normal working week. It can be hard, but more often than not it is deeply rewarding. Between daily ward rounds of the Adult Inpatient’s ward, providing supervision for clinical officers in a busy outpatient department, receiving Rukiga lessons and contributing to weekly teaching for clinical staff, it can be difficult to find time for the quality improvement projects for which we have time 2-3 days a week, not to mention finding time for the weekly football and volleyball leagues. These are wonderfully fierce, and cause controversies that are discussed long into the evening. Clinical work in rural Uganda is fascinating whilst humbling.

Dr. Hamish (right) together with the rest of the team attend to a patient on the ward.

The late presentation of patients’ means you regularly see what normally only exists in textbooks and the experience of the staff here at BCH is often all that keeps you straight. Patients’ stories bring to life the reasons for poor health in rural Africa and forever make you reassess what you take for granted.

A single journey by car on the roads here tells you why travel to the hospital takes so long and costs so much.

A lot of priority is given to making our time here as volunteer doctors sustainable. Being involved in the

confidential enquiries into local maternal and child deaths, setting up chronic care clinics and initiating a service for those dependent on alcohol are among some of the activities that will continue to develop and improve once we have left.

After a long day or week on the wards (or if you are on the losing side in football), there is always hiking high in the hills next to DRC, bumping into gorillas on evening walks, heading to the forest camps for a cold beer or mountain biking. On days off, it is not far to Lake Bunyonyi to do not very much, and it is only 3 hours to Queen Elizabeth National Park and the tree-climbing lions.

All in, it is difficult to consider your time here as ‘volunteering’: BCH and Uganda can enrich your life far more than any cost of coming here. A privileged insight into Ugandan culture, lessons from increased clinical and administrative responsibilities, and time with colleagues and people who will remain friends or mentors for life, are among some of what I will take home.

Dr Hamish Foster
Volunteer Family Physician BCH
GP Trainee - Glasgow, Scotland 

Updates on Uganda Nursing School Bwindi (UNSB)

The school opened last year with the first intake of 13 students.  The second intake will be in May and it will include two international students who already applied. The inauguration ceremony is slated for 23rd of 'May 2014 where His Excellency the president of Uganda , Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected to grace the occasion and all our esteemed partners. You can Support the school through scholarships.

March 2014


Planning a family gorilla tracking safari? Stay at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp where one child under 16 years who shares a tent with his or her parents will stay for FREE!

Valid for new bookings only and subject to availability.

 Valid for travel between January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2014.

 Please note: Only children 15 years and older are allowed to participate in gorilla tracking.



August 2013

Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Greetings from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Trust!
Thanks to our supporters and friends who pat our backs during the difficult times, we managed to go through the first half of the year. Now with open minds we are ready for the second half. Nonetheless, we bring you highlights of June 2013.


We have earlier mentioned that integration of new chimpanzees in the main existing group is a gradual process that is handled with utmost care. In March 2011 we received 4 infants from Southern Sudan. These have gone through the process and we are delighted to report that they have met and interacted with all the members in our care. This has taken almost two years.

The infants; Sara, Medina, Cocoa and Minni have been accepted and are now being introduced to the forest. This is to help them get accustomed to forest life.

He had developed septicemia following a surgery in May. However, this was contained and he's now back to the forest with the other chimpanzees.


 As part of our conservation education program that we code named 'Change my community', we partnered with Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, to expand the Energy Saving program that we had begun in schools in Hoima District. 

Our education team together with 3 technical personnel from Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development trained 150 parents and 5 teachers in energy saving, construction and maintenance of the Lorena energy saving stove. This was to boost their knowledge and engage more parents in the program.

On the other hand, more children were trained by their teachers in the same and tasked to duplicate the technology in their homes. 

May 2013

Gorilla Groups - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda


 Mubare Group - Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp side: (5 members)

One Silverback, one black-back, one adult female and two juveniles.


Rushegura Group-Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp side: (21 members)
One Silverback, one black-back, five adult females, two sub-adults, six juveniles and six Infants.


Habinyanja Group - Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp side: (17 members)
One Silverback, five adult females, three sub-adults, two juveniles & six infants.


Bitukura Group - Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp side:(13 members)
One Silverback, three sub-silverbacks, two black-backs, three adult females, one juveniles and three infants.


Oruzogo Group-Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp side: (23 members)
One Silverback, one sub-silverback, five black-backs, seven adult females, four juveniles and five infants.


Nkuringo Group - Kisoro/Clouds side: (17 members)
One dominant silverback, three sub-silverbacks, three black-backs, three adult females, three juveniles and four infants.


Nshongi Group - Kisoro/Clouds side:(21 members)
One Silverback, two sub-silverback, three black-backs, six adult females, six juveniles and three infants.


Mishaya Group - Kisoro/Clouds side:(7 members)
One Silverback, two adult females, one sub-adult and three infants.


Kahungye Group - Kisoro/Clouds side: (24 members)
One silverback, two sub-silverbacks, three black-backs, four adult females, Three sub-adults, seven juvineles and four infants.





May 2013

Uganda News

Helicopter lands at Ngamba Island

We are aware that some of our clients get sea sick and others have little time to travel on the lake to the sanctuary. It is for this reason that we tested, made arrangements, and now we can offer flights to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. 

Ngamba Island Camp




March 2013

Uganda News

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary wants you to celebrate in style this Easter


Celebrate this Easter with the chimpanzees at Ngamba Island.

Enjoy an exclusive chi mpanzee experience for a day or simply have a get -away in our comfortable tented camp as you watch chimpanzees feed, groom each other and display human like antics.

You may like to take out one of the kayaks around the island bays and treat yourself to s ights of monitor lizards, otters and abundant bird life; over 120 species sited.

Crown this up with a Lake Victoria sunset cruise. Cross the equator line and view the sunset over the horizon as you enjoy snacks and drinks on board.

The satisfaction comes from the fact that by visiting them at Ngamba Island, you are directly contributing to their welfare and the overall conservation of this endangered species.

NKidepo NP Celebrates 50th Year

Kidepo Valley National Park, one of the most remote National Parks in Uganda located in the North Easterly region, is celebrating 50 years of National Park status this year. There are plans within the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to celebrate the milestone with a Golden Jubilee year!

The park itself covers an ar ea of 1442km² and borders Sudan and Kenya (if only over a 5km strip). The celebrations have already begun for the park this year, as it was recently named the third best national park in all of Africa by the CNN Travel site, citing huge herds of wildlife i ncluding buffalo, ostrich, giraffe and even cheetah, and undisturbed natural scenery, no doubt a result of its remote location.

'Kidep' means 'to pick' in the native Karamajong and was taken up by the first colonialists in the area as the name, transformi ng it into 'Kidepo' for ease of pronounciation. In 1958 it was gazetted as a game reserve and in 1962 it was given National Park status by the newly established Ugandan government.

Uganda is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in the African continent and is also one of the most protected.



Nile One of the Seven Wonders

The strong start to the year for Uganda continues as it receives even more international recognition for it's natural excellence, this time naming the Source of the Nile one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa!

The announcement marks the culmination of the first half of the Seven Wonders of Africa Project, which was founded in 2008 by Dr Philip Imler, a passionate conservationsist with experience in travel, healthcare and non-profit work. The objectives of the Project are to deliver nature related education, foster an affection for the amazing wild world, and encourage philosophies and practices of conservation.

Ms Marai Mutagamba, the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, said of the announcement: 'This is a great achievement to the country and with the aims of such an accolade, we should have a shared responsibility such that we can start the conservation from here.


February 2013

Flying Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda!

Flying Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda!

We are delighted to advise you that there are new scheduled flights within Uganda and Rwanda that are making the magnificent mountain gorillas more accessible than ever before!

In Uganda, AeroLink has launched new scheduled flights within the country, drastically cutting the travel time of guests travelling between Kampala and the lodges and greatly improving the experience as well!

Coastal Aviation and Fly Uganda have teamed up to operate daily flights between Kilimanjaro, Manyara, the Serengeti and Entebbe, linking from there to Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Kidepo.

In Rwanda, Coastal Aviation now offers a connection between Rwanda and the savannah plains of Kenya and Tanzania! Coastal connects daily from the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara to Mwanza.


Contact us for more information.


January 2013

Uganda News

 Give a gift this festive season! 

With his beaming smile and sparkling eyes, Abbos looks a picture of health as he energetically plays with his grandmother, Lydia. But just 6 months ago, he was barely clinging to life.

Aged one, Abbos came to our hospital severely malnourished and suffering from malaria. He weighed only seven kilograms (15 pounds). After receiving treatment at BCH, Abbos is now not only healthy - he is a living testimony to how your continued suppo rt makes a huge impact. Abbos' experience mirrors that of many children we see in our children's ward and outpatient wards. It is only with the continuing support of friends and supporters like you that we were able to save Abbos' life. For this reason, we ask you once again to join us this holiday season to save life of a child in Uganda.

Abbos with his grandmother, Lydia

How you can help

You can direct your support to our child health program or any other program in the hospital that you find
compelling. Different program areas include HIV/AIDS and TB, Community Health and Batwa, Surgery, Dentistry and Maternal health. There is perhaps nothing money can buy that makes a greater impact per dollar than healthcare in Uganda.


Child Health
Malaria still claims lives of many children especially when not treated promptly. The same is true for other conditions as diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. All -cause deaths on children's ward have halved to 2% over the last two years probably due prompt treatments and malaria prevention campaign. We thank you for joining the cause as we aim higher.
$6 buys a mosquito net used to prevent malaria
$30 covers admission costs for a day for a child on children's ward
$169 covers costs for nursing a malnourished child to full recovery


Our target is 'zero' HIV transmission from mothers to newborn babies. Our recent audit indicates that
1.3% of the babies in our care still get HIV infection from their mothers.
$353 is enough to maintain a midwife for a month helping HIV infected mothers to have HIV free babies.

Maternal Health
Maternal health care remains a challenge with no progress made to reduce maternal death during the last five years. In fact the 2011 demographic health survey indicated an increase in maternal deaths from 435 to 438 per 100 000 live births.
In our region, 62% deliver their babies without a skilled attendant and yet 15 in 100 deliveries end up in complications.


At Bwindi Community Hospital, we aim at making a difference: pregnancy and child birth should be a fulfilling and joyful experience.


$25 = Family planning and prenatal health outreach education for a remote village
$75 = A two-week stay for five women at the Waiting Mothers Hostel
$187= An emergency cesarean section and post -surgical care for one woman
$111= A hospital delivery with four pre -natal visits and post -natal care for one woman




November 2012

 Uganda News 


Greetings from Chimp Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust !


Ngamba Island updates

From 2011 we embarked on a campaign to raise funds to refurbish the chimpanzee electric fence that has
become weak. The 1,400 meter fe nce is being reconstructed in phases and this month we mobilized funds to raise more 17 meters at the weakest points. We have so far managed to construct 137 meters - thanks to Sheraton Kampala Hotel for their donation and fundraising, but still call for yo ur generous support towards the chimpanzee fence project .

Other initiatives ~

CSWCT's 'Change My Community' (CMC) Conservation Education Program has received additional
funding from Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. 'We are going to establish demonstrati on projects like bee keeping, vegetable gardens and tree nurseries at Kyamaleera Wildlife Education Center (KWEC). These will be for educational purposes as well as income generating sources for the sustainability of the education center. CMC is CSWCT's e ducation program that is geared towards identifying and equiping youths and school children with skills and knowledge to work as 'ambassadors of change' in their communities in order to change attitudes, behaviour and actions of people on their environment .
Private Forest Owners (PFOs) who have enrolled for the Payment for Ecosystem Project (PES) are to benefit more from their ecosystems. The project has got additional funding from Darwin Initiatives to increase on the livelihood benefits for these farmers . The PES project is a four year pilot project in western Uganda that pays Private Forest Owners in unprotected forest patches to conserve the ecosystems in their forests.
CSWCT relies on the generosity of donors, trustees and other supporters. We provide sanctuary for rescued orphaned chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. To support, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  



 Uganda News - SPECIAL!



A saving of up to $150 per person

Fantastic saving of US$150 on the price of your gorilla tracking permit (usual rate US$500) in

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda when you stay 3 nights at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp.

Valid for new bookings only and subject to availability
Valid for travel between 1 - 31 October 2012 and 1 January - 31 March, 21 June - 31
October and 16 - 31 December 2013




October 2012

 Uganda News 




Bwindi Nursing School is here!!

We are excited to report that we have begun to construct the Bwindi School of Nurses Training. The ground breaking ceremony took place on September 4 th, and was officiated by the Bishop of Kinkiizi diocese who is also the Chairman Board of Gove rnors, Bwindi Community Hospital; District officials, including the Resident District Commissioner and other dignitaries.

Platinum Engineering Limited is undertaking this first phase of building construction to be completed by August 2013 to allow for the first students intake in November of the same year.

Bwindi School of Nursing will be affiliated to Uganda Christian University and graduates will receive diplomas of UCU. Students will have a unique opportunity of blended e-learning from Texas Women's University to acquire advanced training and accreditation equivalent to that of a Registered Nurse.

Through this program, Bwindi Community Hospital hopes to create a reliable and
sustainable base of highly qualified health professionals capable of improving health in local communities and the region.

The initial class size in this three year program will be 24 students and will increase annually, until a total student population of 72 has been attained. It is intended that in future, the school will double its capacity and expand to 144 students.

We are very grateful to Stephen Wolf and James Jameson for their great support and to all other people involved in this new chapter.

Malnutrition, a problem in the Bwindi area

Malnutrition is the most important risk factor for illness and death globally. It contributes to more thanhalf of deaths in children worldwide.
Our nutrition unit in the Pediatric ward continues to be busy with cases of malnutrition, admitting anaverage of 10 children per month.

Among the many children we admit is an orphaned Mutwa named Aboss. At one year old, Aboss came to Bwindi severely malnourished and suff ered from malaria. He weighed seven kilograms. While under the care of his grandmother, Lydia, we immediately started him on HEM (nutrient enriched) porridge while treatinghis malaria.

As his treatment progressed, he was slowly able to play with other c hildren in the ward, something he hated to do when he first arrived. After six weeks, he gained over 10 kilograms, completely recovered, and was discharged.
Aboss lost his mother when he was 8 months old due to HIV and his father’s whereabouts are still unknown.
While Aboss and other children on the ward are gaining weight and trying to play, nurses are teaching and demonstrating to mothers how to prepare good meals for their children. And by the time they leave the hospital, they are fully equipped with the skills to keep their families healthy. This enables us to prevent occurrences and re-occurrences of malnutrition.


Community mental health services launched

Statistics show that close to 20% (6.8 million) of the 34 million people in Uganda have some f orms of mental illness, ranging from anxiety and depression to severe madness.

We are happy to report that beginning this September; Bwindi community Hospital will be offering specialist mental health care in collaboration with Kabale Regional Referral Ho spital. Our clients will have an opportunity to be reviewed by the only psychiatrist in the region, Dr. Kabega Jacinta. The clinic will initially run every last Thursday of the month and then clients will be followed up by our community health team that wi ll include a psychiatric clinical officer and a medical social worker.

We hope that this kind of community based mental health rehabilitation will not only bring the much needed service closer to the people but also demystify mental health and associated stigma.



It is essential that staff employed to handle mental health issues are adequately trained and selected to meet the patients' complex needs, and therefore may take us sometime before BCH can build capacity to offer this service more regularly. We are glad that this old dream is finally becoming a reality and welcome additional support to be able to run a daily service.
We are very grateful to Kabale regional referral hospital, especially Dr. Jacinta Kabega and her team, for partnering with us on this initiative to improve health in this area.


A doctor’s interesting tale

Seeing patients as a doctor in the clinic or those admitted on the ward daily, you are struck by how often you have to find an answer or solution for every patient’s problem.

On a windy Thursday afternoon, while rounding the ward, I found a 60 year old man called Paddy -(not real names) in deep agonizing pain; his right leg was darkening progressively and was beginning to develop a foul smell! He had been a heavy smoker for the last 40 years and had a similar episode on his left leg one year ago which was amputated (cut off).


As I looked at him closely, he had dry gangrene (death of his leg tissues) most likely from smoking (a condition called Buerger's Disease). Yet, with this pungent smell and oozing discharge, I said, "Gosh, this is turning into wet gangrene (where there is invasion of the tissues by dangerous species of bacteria), that will infect the whole body in a matter of hours and kill the patient."

With no facilities to ascertain the integrity of blood vessels (venography/arteriography) to make an accurate diagnosis, this uncertainty was, compounded by the patient's inability to afford a referral to the next hospital. The decision was made to give him '˜stro ng' antibiotics and rush him to the operating room to amputate his remaining leg in order to save his life.

Our goal was to slice through normal muscle tissue, just centimeters above the gangrene, and break two bones. Yet, there was no chain saw, normall y used for amputations, available.

Instead, we improvised by using a drill and removed the infected limb, washed him with saline, and then sealed his wound. When he woke up the next morning after recovering from the anesthesia, he could not believe, that the tremendous pain he'd withstood had gone. He is currently recovering in the ward, adapting to the life with no legs, but in much less pain.

It is with your generous support that we are able to maintain such a team of good doctors, nurses, anesthetists who work even with the meager resources to make a difference in people's lives.

For you wishing to give us support:Every single pound, shilling, euro or dollar donated goes directly to running this Hospital. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.




August 2012

 Uganda News

This episode of 60 Minutes includes a wonderful interview with Jane Goodall. While they discuss her work in Gombe in Tanzania, her organization is very active with the Chimps in other African countries such as Uganda. Click here to view…

Jane Goodall

Click here to view our 12 Day Chimp and Gorilla Safari to Uganda 


Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla - A chance encounter with a troop of wild mountain gorillas
near Bwindi National Park, Uganda. Click on image to view…