Let's start with building the St Raphael Children's Medical & Wellness Center!
The Hospital Project in Pictures. Alliance for Life International is the primary initiator for the St Raphael Teaching Hospital of western Uganda. Our Feasibility Study is almost complete. We are awaiting the major funding. The Leadership Team has decided to focus our efforts on building the children's facilities, our area of specialty. We are tentatively calling it: St Raphael Children's Medical & Wellness Center. We say "tentatively" because we would be glad to call it another name to honor a major donor. The needs for that population are so great. We can start using it as soon as it is built because it can stand on its own. It is a way to start small and to gradually progress to the full-fledged facility by adding another 80 beds for the care of adults with medical, surgical, and Ob/Gyn needs for a total of 155 beds.
We received 100 acres of land from the Hoima Diocese. They are our first partner. Once the hospital is built, Uganda Martyr University School of Medicine has expressed interest in offering doctors' specialty training in pediatrics. We plan to offer internships for medical interns to meet their pediatric rotation requirements. The pediatricians will be in close contact with the Uganda Cancer Institute as we plan to offer the latest pediatric cancer protocols and participate in research. We anticipate that this will lead us to also provide hematologic care for children suffering from blood disorders.
The project is planning for 61 medical and surgical beds, 10 oncology/hematology beds, and 4 pediatric/neonatal ICU beds for a total of 75 beds.
<The health care in Uganda is seriously lacking. In their 2000 report, the World Health Organization has ranked the Uganda health care system at No. 149 out of 191 countries. Modern medical care can be found in Kampala the capital, but rarely in the rest of Uganda. Most doctors establish their practice in Kampala. Patients are not being diagnosed of their illness where they live. When they come to Kampala for care, they are already at Stage IV of their disease process. There are very limited diagnostic tools such as x-rays, ultrasounds, etc. Very few lab tests are available outside Kampala.
Uganda has the 2nd largest youth population in the world. Nearly half their population of approximately 40 million is younger than 14 years of age. Malaria is the leading cause of death among all ages. Per the World Health Organization, children under age 5 who are underweight represented 16.8% in 2008. In Kibaale, 38% of children under 5 are stunted. In the Kibaale District, there is only one doctor for 42,000 people (one doctor per 24,000 nationally, one per 400 in the U.S.), one midwife for 12,000, and one nurse for 11,800. This lack of human resources is affecting health outcomes. For example, in the Kibaale region, malaria represents 35% of the disease burden. The Uganda Health System Assessment published in 2011, looked at leading causes of morbidity for 2010/11. At the top of the list, malaria accounted for 37% of the morbidity, a very comparable number to the one in Kibaale. However, the outcomes were different. In Kibaale, the average mortality rate for malaria from 2011-2016 was 35% but nationally in 2011, it was 21%. After malaria, anemia is the second or third most common illness. In Kibaale, the mortality rate due to anemia was 13% while it was 7% nationally. Outcomes matter. The lack of resources in the Kibaale region is costing lives.
The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) located in Kampala cares for children and adults with cancer but it cannot meet the demand. There is an effort to create cancer awareness but access to care is very low: for every 100 cases of suspected cancer, only four will seek care at the UCI. In the countryside such as Kibaale, most do not know their status because there are no diagnostic tools and no doctor to diagnose the disease. Even if diagnosed, accessing care in Kampala, five hours away, for months on end, is not possible for most families. There is an urgent need to decentralize care. Pediatric common cancers include leukemia and fast-growing Burkitt lymphoma. Children affected with blood disorders also need specialized care. They may suffer from hemophilia and sickle cell disease. In addition to providing cancer care to the western region, the St Raphael cancer and hematology center will receive patients from Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, and Western Kenya.
The western Uganda region is very populated. More than one million children stand to benefit from a specialized children’s hospital in Kibaale.
An important component of this project consists of encouraging the availability of health insurance in
the region. We have contacted Health Partners. They are well established in South Western Uganda since the late 90s. Their corporate office is in Kampala. They promote a co-operative model of health insurance. After several training sessions, ALI sponsored a Pilot program in the Kibaale region, starting in Feb 2018. Cyprian Biribonwa, a St. Raphael Hospital Project team member is leading the implementation effort. At this time, close to 1500 insured members are receiving their care under the St Luke HC3 in the Bujuni parish. We are very hopeful that this concept will spread in the region. Eventually, the St Raphael Children’s Medical & Wellness Center will become a regional health care provider for this insured population. Naturally, the hospital will provide care for the uninsured who are private pay, or beneficiaries from other insurance groups.
The Feasibility Study is well underway and we anticipate dissemination to government leaders by Oct 2019. Several studies have been completed. Water Investigations revealed a large body of subterranean water in our land! We have selected an architect and his team of engineers, including Dr. Eng. James Zikusooka Muwuluke, Master Planner. So far, our architect, Philip Kivunike from Envision Designs, has submitted preliminary designs. We are revising the designs to meet the needs of the stand-alone pediatric facility. We are carefully planning lecture rooms to accommodate our students, professors, and guest presenters.
Our mission: to provide high quality, modern and affordable medical care with emphasis on neonatal, infant and child care, including cancer care, with a strong commitment to wellness and disease prevention.
Our vision: Our core values:
- Care shall be based on Christian values of concern for the disadvantaged, respect for human dignity inherent in all phases of development, and compassion in service
- We believe in the family-centered care approach to children’s care.
3. Promotion of awareness, disease prevention and wellness
4. A strong commitment to practice medicine and nursing within a Catholic Christian ethical framework
5. Excellence in training and research with opportunities for collaboration with other teaching medical institutions
6. A multi-disciplinary approach to care based on mutual respect which fosters an environment that encourages and rewards continuous education for all disciplines
In collaboration with our Church Partners, ALI’s responsibilities include raising the building funds, securing building plans and construction, equipping the hospital to provide modern medical care, and carrying the vision the completion. We anticipate breaking ground in the 1st quarter 2020.
The construction will take less than one year. The equipping, recruiting of staff and students will take another 3-6 months. We are in the planning/fundraising level of our project.
The St Raphael Children’s Medical & Wellness Center will serve 1 million children in Western Uganda and the surrounding regions. They are desperate for specialized pediatric care, including cancer care and wellness prevention. The St. Raphael Hospital will make a tremendous difference by saving lives, improving the general health status of children, and by stimulating the region’s economic growth.
Alliance for Life International is fully dedicated to bring this project to reality. Will you join us? Become a Become a Founding Partner
Louise Allard R.N., B.S.N., M.A. in International Human Rights
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