- Discover the phenomenal work of Jane Anyango and her colleagues -
The Bwindi Nursing School and Community Hospital is located on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and provides healthcare to over 100,000 locals. The sheer hard work, grit, determination and vision of staff has made the facility the success story it is today. Jane Anyango is a truly inspirational woman, who has led the development of the facility.
A pivotal moment in Jane’s childhood fuelled her longstanding desire to purse a career in nursing. When she was just ten years old, Jane’s younger sister suffered from painful stomach aches and sickness. Many people in their community attempted to alleviate the pain, offering local herbs and remedies, yet she remained ill for two weeks. Eventually, the family looked to medical professionals for help. Jane remembers the moment clearly when a caring nurse, dressed in white, identified her sister’s illness and gave her three tablets. These tablets stopped her sisters pain in just one hour; in this single moment, Jane knew she wanted to become a nurse, dedicating her life to helping others. Jane’s sister was suffering from a preventable disease, common within the community. Consequently, today one of Jane’s main aims is to help eliminate these very preventable diseases through education.
With the help of Sanctuary Retreats Gorilla Forest Camp guests, Jane received funding to complete a masters degree in nursing at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Subsequently, she returned to the hospital as Head of Nurses and Midwives. During this time, she faced many challenges. Nurses frequently would only stay in Bwindi for a few months, due to the unfavourable conditions. However, in 2010 Jane introduced a new initiative, training individuals who had dropped out of school and could speak some English. Jane educated these people about how to prevent diseases through hygiene. These now knowledgeable Health Advisors then worked teaching the local community valuable lessons. This project was successful in greatly minimising hospital admissions.
The first group of students at the nursing school were recruited in 2013. The class comprised of eleven men and two women, a clear imbalance. Following Jane’s endeavours towards female equality there are currently 402 students, 305 of which are female and 97 are male. The school is also now one of the best in the country, last year 22 distinctions were given out nationwide and 14 of these were achieved by Bwindi students.
The future is bright for this facility as it continues to go from strength to strength. As a result of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp guests help, Jane left for America in August to study for her PhD. Once she has achieved this, the hospital hopes to expand further; investing in new staff accommodation, dormitories and recruiting students from Rwanda, Kenya and The Democratic Republic of Congo, as the nursing school transitions into a university.