KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
Two months ago, KIHEFO was thrilled to receive a major donation from Canadian-based partner organization, Change for Children Association, to help continue the renovations on the Maternal & Child Hospital in Kirigime neighbourhood of Kabale-town in southwestern Uganda.
Change for Children Association has been supporting the ongoing renovations of the hospital over the last five years through individual donations and a mighty $60,000 grant that was received via the Wild Rose Foundation/Community Initiatives Program (Government of Alberta, Canada).
For KIHEFO, the dream to renovate and expand the hospital has been in the works for over decade. In 2002, a Muslim-community group in Kirigime donated the existing health clinic and land to KIHEFO. At that time, the health clinic had been a failed project, yet the community group recognized that KIHEFO was a healthcare provider in Kabale that had real capacity to run the facilities and offer services. KIHEFO accepted – and began to work “mpola, mpola” (meaning ‘slowly, slowly’ in the local language) to design and renovate a Maternal & Child Hospital with capacity for 100-beds.
Currently in southwestern Uganda, it’s estimated that only 30% of women give birth in a healthcare setting with a trained health professional. 70% of births take place at home in rural villages, where women are at risk of experiencing complications due to a number of other conditions, including HIV, malnutrition, malaria and other communicable/non-communicable diseases.
According to the World Health Organization (2012), Uganda has the 20th highest rate of maternal mortality, and the 15th highest rate of child (five years and under) mortality.
The Maternal & Child Hospital, run by KIHEFO, will have capacity for women to receive ante-natal, natal and post-natal services, with a labor and delivery ward, recovery and general health services. 80% of the hospital’s focus will be on maternal and child health, and 20% will provide general healthcare services.
The hospital will be the first of its kind in the whole of Uganda, and the biggest facility in the Kigezi region. It’s anticipated that it will become a major learning site for Ugandan medical students and global health students to learn from KIHEFO’s approach.
Change for Children’s generous donation has allowed KIHEFO’s volunteer team to finish renovating the labor ward, and has stimulated excitement in the local community to continue searching for funds, locally and internationally, to complete renovations and equip the entire hospital.
KIHEFO is still looking for donations to build a special Children’s Ward, which will provide fifty beds (for patients and caretakers) where severely malnourished children can be admited for rehabilitation, and their caretakers can receive important sensitization for prevention. The Children’s Ward will also be the first of its kind in all of Uganda.