Window on Kisiizi

Window on Kisiizi

Monday, 11 September 2017

DELUGE

SERIOUS FLOODING HITS KISIIZI

We heard yesterday that serious flooding has inundated Kisiizi causing massive disruption... patients had to be moved from lower wards, the hydro-electricity generator was down, the main water supply from our capped spring interrupted, staff homes cut off etc.

The photo is of the central roundabout area in the in-patient zone near the Chapel.  In our 30+ years involved in Kisiizi we have never seen this.  We are not sure if it is a freak one-off event or if it is part of the changing weather patterns seen in many places.

See www.kisiizihospital.org.ug for more

Please pray for the Staff seeking to maintain clinical services in such trying circumstances.

We ourselves travel back to Uganda on 14th September, meanwhile we are trying to mobilise support as there will be some major costs to get everything sorted after such catastrophic floods.

thank you.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

OUT OF THE BLUE!

Well, after a very long pause, here we are again... Life in Kisiizi  has been very full on and the blog got put to the back burner for an extended period so thanks to those of you who have continued to remember us and for your encouragement...

Moses
But its been worth it as so much has been fitted in to the past months so let us give you some highlights... but first to encourage all who can to get to Friends of Kisiizi Day on Saturday 7th October to be held at Brookside Church in Reading with Moses Mugume, our senior hospital administrator, as Guest of Honour.
See www.kisiizihospital.org.ug for more details.

Moses is over for a month on a Commonwealth Fellowship based in Chester and his diary has already filled up I think!


We came back to UK as usual to help with the annual Christian Medical Fellowship Developing Health Course at the beginning of July which, as usual, was heart-warming as we interacted with a range of impressive speakers and participants and heard about many healthcare projects in a variety of resource-poor settings around the world.  The mix of practical skills workshops, lectures, seminars etc works really well.

We also met up with friends who had worked recently in Kisiizi:  Dr Amy and Midwife Ruth...


with Mark and Ruth in Crete
Then we had a week with Mark and Ruth and an amazing last minute holiday to Crete which was lovely and, unlike most of the Mediterranean, not excessively hot but just right.  We were all very tired so essentially crashed out for the week which was therapeutic!




Hanna with some of the van Mameren family...

We were able to then help Ian's mum when she was discharged after a hip replacement, and then we went to Holland for a week to see Dutch family relatives which was lovely and included a van Mameren family gathering. We really appreciated the warm welcome and also caught up with friends from the past.

We have fitted in a range of talks about Kisiizi to different groups and individuals and done a fair bit of hospital business meeting up with potential workers and sorting out exciting things like bank accounts - groan!

Had a couple of days up in Keswick for the convention and to enjoy a quick glimpse of the beautiful lakes... once again bumped into old friends, meeting up with Diana with whom we had worked when first in Kisiizi in 1987 when she was there as a nurse.  Her husband Johnnie has just been appointed as Principal of the Oak Hill Theological College in London so that will be a big change for them next year...


So what about Kisiizi?

We welcomed our new Bishop, Benon, with his wife Gladys to Kisiizi when he came to chair his first Board of Governors meeting. In the photo is Moses Mugume in the centre.


Kisiizi continues to serve the poor who are mostly subsistence farmers.  There has been a lot of concern with the weather as we have had long periods without rain when it should have come and then recently flooding due to excessive rainfall.  This puts crops at risk, and no crops means no food and there is no safety net so people go hungry.  We still treat a lot of children with malnutrition which in turn makes them vulnerable to all sorts of infections.  At least now we make KisiiziNut on site as a ready-to-use therapeutic feed which is a great help.  The Good Samaritan fund helps to pay for very poor patients so Kisiizi continues the tradition since it first opened in 1958 that it never turns anyone away.


Repairing the hydro-electricity circuit illuminated by Hanna!
We have been spoilt with reliable electricity that we generate on site but recently had a period of challenges when there was a major fault in a transformer and circuit board so it was cold showers for a month and cooking on charcoal.  But we are so grateful for our Kisiizi Hospital Power Limited electricians and team with wonderful support from friends of Kisiizi in UK who offer prompt advice and financial help with the costs of spares and the transport to get them out to Kisiizi.  THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED!

The photo shows Hanna next to the police helicopter that landed on the Kisiizi Primary School playing fields in May when Dr Diana Atwiine the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health came to open our new Ahumuza Centre for patients with mental illness.  This was a landmark occasion as the centre is the first of its kind in a rural area anywhere in Uganda and a testimony to the compassion for the vulnerable that Kisiizi demonstrates in a variety of ways.
see the hospital website for more photos and details www.kisiizihospital.org.ug

Then in June we had the opening of the Kisiizi Falls tourism project supported by United Nations World Tourism Organization (the only project in Uganda to have this link!).  All the proceeds from the tourism go to help the Good Samaritan Fund.  We have had around 7,300 visitors in the first 7 months!

Coucal at Kisiizi Falls





Kisiizi Falls monument unveiling the plaque
Kisiizi Primary School children in traditional dress to welcome the Guest of Honour


There are a range of attractions at Kisiizi Falls so see

www.kisiizifalls.com

for more information.







One high-adrenaline feature is the SkyTrail three-stage zipline where the final stage runs high above the waterfall...

A national broadcaster in Uganda recently produced a short TV report on Kisiizi Falls:

TV video clip


Ian has recently given a presentation in a Webinar organised by Uganda UK Health Alliance and this can be viewed on YouTube on the link below:

Webinar presentation


We travel back to Kisiizi on 14th September and look forward to the next phase...

thanks for your support and encouragement!

Ian and Hanna














Sunday, 20 March 2016

Comings & goings... or staying put!

Helen Davies with her daughter Bronwen
Kisiizi has always been blessed with a great mix of visitors for short or longer term visits.  George and Doreen Wadsworth return regularly to help in various ways which is much appreciated.  Helen Davies, wife of the late Dr. John Davies who had served as Medical Superintendent in Kisiizi for 10  years from 1967 visited and we had a lovely evening with a group of staff, ex-staff and contacts who had known John.  It was clear he made a huge contribution and helped to give Kisiizi stability during politically challenging times.

Queuing to vote on the Kisiizi Hospital Primary School playing fields



Meanwhile it has been election time here in Uganda and the question was who would come, who would go and who would stay?!  Thankfully for the most part the period has been peaceful though there were some sad events in Kasese after the main elections.  There are still court cases etc challenging the results and we pray the country will remain peaceful.




Stephen Burgess, Africa Region Director of Church Mission Society visited and it was good to show him the many changes since his last visit.  Ruth Sloman is a midwife who is volunteering with us for a year and Dr. Sarah Band is a junior doctor here for four months.  We have also had groups from Tonbridge Baptist Church and from Cheeers Kisiizi! charity based in Dublin to plan visits from teams in April and the summer.

Sadly we said goodbye to Sister Moreen, wife of Dr. Gabriel, who will be based more in Kampala as the children have moved to schools there.  We miss her already.
Dr Jonathan Jones (right) and team with Kisiizi staff
following a Trauma training workshop session

Dr Jonathan Jones and  a team came out for an intense week of practical clinical orthopaedics plus running a course on trauma for our staff which was really useful.  One of the team is a colo-rectal surgical specialist and it was clearly God's timing for him to come with the team as our Chaplain, Rev. Joshua, was found on endoscopy to have a tumour and this was successfully removed the same day rather to his surprise!  He is now making a good and steady recovery.

Samuel Mugisha of Innovation-Streams came with colleagues to help progress the Stre@mline IT project.  We have finally received the first quarter funds from the grant we won from the Uganda National Council for Science & Technology (one of only six grants awarded for over 150 applicants).

Dr. Keith Waddell and his team from Ruharo Eye Centre in Mbarara came once again to run an Eye Safari and we had the joy of once more seeing many with cataracts regain their vision.

And in the last few days we welcomed a group of 14 from Kiwoko Hospital to Kisiizi to visit various departments to share ideas, innovations and solutions to challenges.
Colleagues from Kiwoko Hospital with members of the Kisiizi team

Sunday, 17 January 2016

New Year Rollercoaster...

The murram road throught the Kisiizi compound area
As usual living in Kisiizi brings a mix of frustrations, disappointments and challenges plus encouragements, blessings and exhilaration!

Some of the challenges...

On the staffing side we are sad that Dr Dwight and Sandy McLeod had to unexpectedly and suddenly return to UK to care for elderly parents with health problems.  We do hope they will be back with us before too long. Dwight is a specialist Physician and Sandy has valuable nursing experience and has been helping run the Guest House.

Sister Esther, previous Principal Nursing Officer and a very good friend, lost her mum after a long illness so Hanna went to be with the family and to attend the funeral.  Hanna also had to go up to Kampala for dental treatment so has become very familiar with the coach / minibus journey (its about 7 hours to drive in a private car travelling from Kisiizi to Kampala and of course with public transport there can be significant extra delays).

The scandal of a terribly wasted child's ribcage
We still have great sorrow when we see patients arriving too late for us to help.  A mother came recently having had a Caesarian section at a government clinic two days earlier.  She arrived in Kisiizi with gross anaemia, her haemoglobin test being only 2.7 (should be above 10) and in spite of full supportive treatment and transfusion she died the following day.  We still see children coming in grossly wasted and malnourished and can only press on with our Nutrition, Family Planning and Community programmes to try and prevent these tragedies.
Another child with a swollen body for 2 weeks...


Getting better!




     








Financially we are aware of a fall-off in the regular support from Kisiizi Partners but we are very grateful that some of the shortfall has now been made up and we thank those who have made donations, especially the regular standing orders, to help us continue the work here.  We greatly appreciate all the efforts made by the trustees of Kisiizi Partners and for all those who pray for Kisiizi and give in different ways - thank you.

... and some of the encouragements!

The old floor...



We were very grateful to hear from All Souls church in London that they are giving a further gift towards the cost of the renovation of the (embarassingly bad!) old out-patient clinic area to make a fit-for-purpose Maternal & Child Health Clinic.  People are now getting excited as the work proceeds and the new unit takes shape.  It is a busy department with ante-natal and post-natal mothers plus immunisation, child welfare and family planning plus the HIV mother-baby point work.
Transformation underway with skylights and terrazo floors...

We are also excited that after a long period of planning we are due to commence the foundations for our new Mental Health Unit supported by Jamie's Fund.  We recently enjoyed a visit from Linda Shuttleworth and colleagues from the Cheshire & Wirral Mental Health Trust in Chester to support Sister Nancy and our mental health team.  We are due to have a meeting in a few days time with Basic Needs charity representatives and colleagues from Bwindi Hospital, Nyakibale and Kabale as
we seek to plan joined up community mental health services to reach the huge need.  Kisiizi currently sends out two mental health clinics a month and will have between 80 and 120 patients turning up each time.

New Staff accommodation, greatly needed, is under construction with support from our friends in Kisiizi Partners.  Management have decided to renovate another old building for more staff accommodation and to allow us to rationalise the location of hostels for our male student nurses.



The meadow on the way to Kisiizi Falls.
Note the trees felled as we harvest timber.
After a long period with little happening, the interest in developing Kisiizi Falls as a tourist destination has picked up again.  The Ugandan Ministry of Tourism has put Kisiizi forward for a grant from the STEP programme of the United Nations (Sustainable Tourism, Eliminating Poverty) which we understand is sponsored by South Korea.  We should be receiving some financial support to improve the infrastructure such as paths and steps for access to the waterfall and surrounding area plus some added attractions such as a hanging bridge to view the falls.  We are pleased that as a Management Team we have been able to constructively guide the plans to make sure nothing is done to detract from the natural beauty or the work of the hospital or the lives of its staff.  So for example instead of a monument and a hanging bridge in front of the Falls we have proposed the bridge is located in a gorge off to one side so it will not detract from the traditional view of the waterfall.  Similarly the monument, to commemorate the girls who died in the past when thrown over the falls if they became pregnant before marriage, will be sited behind the path to avoid any interruption of the view.

Proposed developments


Another completely different but strategic development is the Stre@mline IT programme we are developing.  Encouragingly we have been approved for a grant by the Uganda National Council for Science & Technology.  This was a bid against a range of other projects so we are delighted to be awarded the grant which will help us to develop the system.  Increasingly we realise how much impact it may have as we improve our data collection, finances and stock control as well as all the patient safety benefits.




When Ian gave a presentation a month or two ago in Kampala at the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau annual conference a lot of other units expressed great interest.  We will pilot here first then Stre@mline will be trialed at Rugarama Hospital in Kabale.  Others including Bwindi and Kagando are also keen to be involved.







JOY to the world!

 After a very busy year for all four of us, it was a great JOY to be reunited as a family to spend Christmas together...

Having successfully graduated as PhD, Mark teaches undergraduates at Reading University in the chemistry department.  He has just been offered the chance to lecture in China for a week in March which should be very interesting...

The 8-legged 2-necked Siamese giraffe... or was it my glasses??


Ruth obtained her Masters Education degree from Hommerton College, Cambridge and continues to teach a primary school class in Islington, north London.

The last time we were all four together in Kisiizi was way back in 2005 so it was very special to meet up again in Kigali airport, Rwanda.  We took an extra day to visit the Akagera game park in eastern Rwanda and were thrilled to see not only the wonderful giraffes and elephants but even a beautiful leopard in a bush by the track.  It is rare to see leopards in daylight, and it stared at us for a moment before turning and strolling off into the bush... just a brief encounter but one of those magical moments we will all remember.
On to Kisiizi (had a puncture that could have been serious if it had happened a few minutes earlier, and within 2 minutes of stopping by the side of the road a colleague from Kisiizi drove up behind us!) and a few busy days... Hanna helping out on Maternity and organising Christmas lunch, and Ian was on call from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day for paediatrics  while Mark and Ruth were roped in to help with judging the annual Ward Competition and presenting the results at the Staff Christmas Party, an extraordinary event where over 700 had a good hot meal and Ian gave a "state of Kisiizi" presentation.  All went well and after Ian preached at the Christmas Day service we enjoyed having our Medical Officers and Interns for Christmas lunch...
Mark viewing the volcanoes


Then we took some days off to enjoy some of the beauty of the region on our way to return Mark and Ruth to Kigali airport.  We were blessed to see some amazing animals and breath-taking scenery and by the time we said our goodbyes had filled the memory-banks for some time to come and thank God for such a special time together with safe travel and good weather.



not just any chameleon... a Rwenzori three-horned male chameleon!

We managed to get back to Kisiizi 15 minutes before the New Year began so were with the excited crowd on the Primary School playground for the traditional countdown...


Reflecting on the beauty all around!



  
Ruth and Hanna

Together again!




Sunday, 15 November 2015

Meetings...

Stre@mline IT programme under development in Kisiizi
It's been a busy diary time... Ian went up to Kampala on 9th November after the Management meeting we hold every Monday in Kisiizi to discuss and pray over the agenda for the weeks ahead. All went well until entering Kampala and getting stuck in traffic so that last part of the journey was painfully slow.  But we had met up with Samuel Mugisha who is working with Ian on the Stre@mline IT programme so plenty to discuss.  Samuel heads up Rimpscom, a software development company in Mbarara. 
We ended up working late on our presentation for the next day when we had a viva / interview at the Uganda National Council for Science & Technology relating to our application for a National Science, Technology and Innovation Project grant. This was the third stage in the selection process and there had been a lot of competition so we were very happy that the panel were very positive about the programme and are offering us support.  Details of the finances to be finalised and they will help us with Intellectual Property rights.  We want to get these to stop some other body pinching the ideas and patenting them as they may then offer the programme to potential users at high price whereas our goal is to make it available at a low price affordable by places like Kisiizi so that as many patients as possible benefit.

The next day Ian went to Mulago National Referral Hospital for the National Intern Committee.  Kisiizi takes 8 interns, 2 in each specialty of Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics.  We have a good reputation with the committee and they want us to expand the number of training posts in future to include nurses and maybe pharmacists.

Then back to Kisiizi arriving about 9pm as the landcruiser developed a mild oil leak from the rear axle near the end of the trip so we had to proceed slowly.

Next day Thursday 12th we had an unexpected group from the Ministry of Health arrive.  They had been scheduled to come two days earlier but did not materialise and we had not been informed of the change so a lot of re-organisation to sort things out.  Their remit was to audit the medicines received from the Global Fund programmes for malaria, TB and HIV treatment.  It went well but meant that Ian had to sit up late in the evening to finalise documents and presentations for the Board of Governors meeting the next day. 
Meanwhile he was also on-call and sadly had an emergency in Accident and Emergency where a 4 month infant was brought in moribund and died shortly afterwards.  The tragedy was the family delayed coming as they had attended traditional healers who had done a procedure called "Ebiino" where an unerrupted tooth is extracted from the gum as there is a myth that this is the cause of gastroenteritis.  The infants haemoglobin anaemia test was only 2.7, normally it should be 10 or above.  The blood count was very abnormal and the child was shocked and did not respond to resuscitation even though we intubated and ventilated with oxygen and gave dextrose, adrenaline etc via an intra-osseus line.  We are reporting the details to the government District Health Officer to follow up and we will try and do more health promotion to stop this happening.

Members of the Board of Governors
The Board meeting went well including the presentation of the external audited accounts. The 5 year strategic plan is underway and Ian gave a progress report called "Pressing on..."
The Constitution and Terms & Conditions of Service have been extensively updated and confirmed.

The next day we held the AGM of the Kisiizi Hospital Health Insurance scheme and this also is going well with a financial break even and growing numbers.

Group leaders of some of the 200 community insurance groups
We also said goodbye to a team from Countess of Chester hospital led by Sarah Hoyle and Sam Walker who came to support the patient safety work following successful application to THET for a further grant to expand the programmes.
Dr Josephine, Paul & Kate, Sarah, Sam Ian & Hanna, Moses Mugume and George Wadsworth










Saturday, 3 October 2015

Spectacular!


A spectacular sight as a Ross' turaco swoops in and the sun shines through its wings...

it's only taken about 3 years to get this photo!