Window on Kisiizi

Window on Kisiizi

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Kisiizi Sketchbook...

A poster in a church in UK of Bishop Festo Kivengere who was based in Kabale our nearest big town...

L to Rt: Lara, new volunteer midwife; Mercy nurse; Krupa Physician; Prima nurse with Hanna cutting cake
from all nations to all nations....

it's a great blessing to have the beauty of Kisiizi Falls and a whole spectrum of birdlife to enjoy when we do get any breathing space from the hospital...

here is one of the magnificent crested cranes, the national symbol of Uganda..

The Chapel Choir relaxing after a Sunday service

The Special Care Baby Unit is partly in a corridor so we are designing a new unit as part of the proposed 2-storey block to replace the old mental health building.  It will also incorporate a basic Intensive Care Unit, maternity and a female surgical ward.

exhausted father catching a quick nap in Children's Ward

Pressing on!

Culvert to go under road for drainage
The aftermath of the floods has impacted in a range of ways as our overall patient numbers have reduced as people have seen or heard of the crisis in the media.
We have had many groups of visitors to the hospital ranging from local community members to government ministers, defence force engineers, colleagues from other health institutions etc. and we are grateful for this interest and support.

The Uganda National Roads Authority have been quick to provide mechanical diggers to widen the river to reduce the risk of further flooding should we have heavy rains again as it is still the rainy season.

Silt filled the Lagoon in the tourism area
After the digger... mud, mud, mud!

As well as the Hospital the farm, meadow and Kisiizi Falls lagoon area were affected by the floods which deposited tons of silt across the site...
see for more on the Kisiizi Falls tourism initiatives
Kisiizi Falls turned brown with all the silt

Blankets donated by local community family

We now have the main generator working again and drinking water back in most houses in the Kisiizi estate area.  The patients who had been evacuated from low-lying ward areas affected by the floods were moved back again after a few days but we will need to do decoration and refurbishment.
We are so grateful for all who have sent messages of encouragement and gifts to Kisiizi Partners appeal.  See for updates

Monday, 11 September 2017



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 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


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...

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 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

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

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.