Day 2 – Seeing Kiwoko come to life

Since 2007, Adara has had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. It has been an amazing partnership, which has shown us all the exponential power of linking the business sector with those in need in the developing world. Together, we have been able to provide the hospital with a new and expanded neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a brand new maternity ward. In addition, Aspen helps people living with HIV to stay happy and healthy through various programmes. They also support the preventative arm of the hospital, through community outreach.

Each year, Aspen staff members from offices across the globe come to Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Every year, they leave inspired. For the next week, the ambassadors will be writing a blog each day about their experience at Kiwoko. Here is day two.

By Ashley Thompson

Ki Kati! Greetings from Kiwoko Hospital. We began our journey from Entebbe this morning after a quick briefing and clothing check: long skirts and and sleeved shirts for women and long pants with collared shirts for men. Cabrie, Maddie and Daniel are the Adara representatives hosting Aspen on this trip. The ride to Kiwoko took about 3 hours, the last 30 minutes of which were rightfully called the Ugandan massage as we bounced along a pothole covered dirt road to reach the hospital. The ride brought us through the capital city, Kampala, and by the hilly countryside where we saw many people out and about – tending to their stores, walking along the side of the road, riding on motorbikes while transporting people and goods and workers, sweeping the red dirt off the sides of the road. It was quite the source of entertainment which thankfully distracted me from watching our van weave through said walkers, motorbikes and slow-moving trucks at an alarming speed.

After settling into our lodging at the Training Center, we enjoyed a hot meal of spicy pumpkin soup, homemade bread and pineapple. We then met the Hospital Superintendent, Dr. Rory Wilson. Dr. Rory led us on a tour of the hospital which I was surprised to find was sprawling, comprised of many separate buildings. Dr. Rory’s wife Denise, gave birth 5 years ago in the maternity ward which is a testament to the quality of care here.

Ugandans do most of their living outside which was evident at the hospital. The waiting room was in an open-air building with benches outside on the covered porch. Patients and their family members were sitting along the walls of the different wards if they were able. The patient’s family essentially acts as their own nurses as they are responsible to bring their own food, water, sheets and wash basins.

We stopped in the children’s ward which houses children up to the age of 6 due to the size of the small beds. Children over the age of 7 are treated separately in the men’s and women’s wards which were up next on our tour. We briefly stopped in the women’s ward as we will get a more in-depth tour of the Maternity Ward and NICU later this week. In additional to the medical wards, we saw the HIV clinic, Laboratory, School of Nursing / Midwifery and dormitories.

In addition to resident students, we learned that the hospital houses nearly half of their 400 employees, which makes Kiwoko more than just a hospital; it is a unique and supportive community.

It was almost dinner-time after the tour, which was another lovely meal: Shepherd’s pie, veggies, rice, chickpea sauce and pineapple. Following dinner, Daniel Kabugo, the Adara Program Manager at Kiwoko Hospital shared the incredible story of his family’s survival through the civil war. His story is an anomaly as many weren’t as fortunate. Given all that he went through, it is inspiring to see what a strong presence he is in this community.

All in all it was a wonderful first day at the Kiwoko Hospital.

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