Founded in 2003 by U.S. missionaries as a weekly clinic under a tree, Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH), located on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, now provides healthcare to the 100,000 locals in the area.
With 112 beds for patients and a healthcare outreach programme, the hospital provides clinics and care for a wide range of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, dental treatments, HIV and malaria.
A perpetual shortage of nurses has had a serious effect on the impact of the Bwindi Community Hospital, a facility that literally began under a tree a decade ago and, with the help of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, has grown to a 112-bed facility providing health care for 40,000 patients annually. The dedicated staff also sends outreach teams to surrounding villages to ensure all people have access to health care and health education. Nurses are scarce in the region largely because they train in the capital city of Kampala and, after a year or two of rural living, return to their families in the city.
Today, the Uganda Nursing School Bwindi invests in promising local students who will be the region’s future health care workers. Since one in three students can’t afford to pay the $750 annual tuition, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy and Sanctuary Retreats guests have come together to provide scholarships to ensure the success of the school. In turn, this ensures that the people served by the hospital and surrounding villages have access to certified nursing school graduates who are from the region, speak the local language and understand local customs.
Guests staying at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp have the opportunity to visit the hospital and nearby school for a tour. Meet the students and explore their learning lab where they are training to be skilled health care providers for the community.