Hello. Most tourists who travel to Uganda to trek gorillas in Bwindi start their trek from the village of Buhoma (the north entrance to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). One mile down the hill from the entrance to the park is one of the best Hospitals in Uganda. It has grown from a mobile clinic under a tree in 2002 to a 60 bed Hospital with a Child Health and Nutrition unit, busy HIV treatment program, operating theatre, maternity service delivering more than 60 babies a month and a well-developed community health program. We employ 80 staff from the local area and see more than 20,000 patients a year. The main health problems in the Bwindi area are malnutrition. HIV/AIDS and problems of pregnancy and childbirth. The community health team based in the Hospital have trained more than 200 ‘village health promoters’ who take messages of health promotion and disease prevention into every village in this area of 40,000 people. I run the Hospital and have lived and worked here for three years as a volunteer. I used to be a GP (family doctor) in the UK. Many visitors to the area who come to see mountain gorillas also visit the Hospital during their stay in Bwindi. We can give them an insight into another side of life in Uganda. The Hospital is clean and well-run, and is a fascinating experience for people who have little knowledge about African health care systems. We always have a member of staff on duty to welcome visitors, and they are escorted round by one of our doctors or senior nurses. There is much more information about the Hospital on the website http://www.bchc.ug/, and we also have a 5 minute YouTube movie about the Hospital on this site. Visitors to the Hospital in the past have donated money for a new children’s ward, ambulance and maternity ward. Many also sponsor the salaries of staff, or have paid for local people to be trained as health workers. We are 100% accountable to donors for the money, have registered not-for-profit organisations in the UK and US, and we publish our accounts on the website.
Dr Paul Williams