Bwindi Community Hospital & Nursing School
Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) was founded in 2003 by U.S missionaries, on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. What started as a small weekly clinic, now provides healthcare to 100,000 locals in the area and Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is proud to work with the hospital and help develop its resources.
Housing 150 patient beds and home to a healthcare outreach programme, BCH provides access to clinicians and cares for a wide range of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, dental treatments, HIV and malaria.
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, then return to their families in the city. A perpetual shortage of nurses seriously impacted BCH’s ability to continue its good work, but with the help of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, it has grown to a 150-bed facility providing caring for 40,000 patients each year. The dedicated staff also sends outreach teams to surrounding villages to ensure all locals have access to health care and health education.
To help nurture the next generation of nursing talent, 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 guests have come together to provide scholarships to ensure the success of the nursing school. This guarantees that the people served by the hospital and the 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 are welcome to visit the hospital and nearby school for a tour, where they can meet the students and explore the where and how they are training to be health care providers for the community.
The Waiting Mothers’ Hostel
The Waiting Mothers’ Hostel was created with the purpose of abolishing problems related to pregnancy among Batwa women. Having a baby is usually associated with happiness and hope, however in many developing countries, pregnancy can be life-threatening.
PROBLEMS FOR BATWA WOMEN
Most of the risks for pregnant women in developing countries are related to poverty, poor nutrition, infectious disease and limited access to healthcare. A lack of understanding about when to seek care and the great distances mothers have to travel to seek medical aid are also factors. Together with our guests at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, we have been working toward eliminating these problems among Batwa women who live near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
The idea for a Waiting Mothers’ Hostel (adjacent to the Bwindi Community Hospital) was borne out of concerns for pregnant women having a safe place to reside until they delivered – if an expectant mother goes into labour at home and has a complication, walking for hours to the nearest medical facility can be not only painful but fatal. The hospital previously maintained a 28-bed Waiting Mothers’ Hostel where a pregnant mother was provided with a bed, access to a communal kitchen and laundry, as well as education about childbirth and child rearing.
THE NEW WING
Due to its popularity, the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel has required expansion. With the help of our guests, we have funded the construction of a new wing that will house even more expectant mothers, on their way to safe deliveries.
The expansion of the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel includes a 2,000 square foot facility and 12 additional beds for expectant mothers, bringing the total to 40, with additional sleeping space for midwives, as well as the furnishings, equipment and supplies needed for a safe and comfortable stay.