Window on Kisiizi

Window on Kisiizi

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Crash out time...

Yes, in all the mix of things, we did have time for a break as we went on a last-minute package trip to Crete with Mark and Ruth... we have to confess we didn't see a great deal of the island as we were all just ready to crash out so much time was spent by or in the pool... it was lovely to have a breather and the weather was perfect, food good and we had many laughs as we did rounds of crazy golf, played a Dutch card game the kids enjoyed when much younger, and tried, not very successfully, to get photos of Ruth before she covered her face with her hands!
side view... well it was crazy golf!

"What do you mean, watch your steeeeeeeeeeeeeepppp??!!"

All Nations

time for a trip down memory lane... having been in Macclesfield for a few days juggling appointments for ourselves at the dentist/optician/GP etc and for the car for MOT etc plus helping sort out final drafts for the application to THET for a grant for Kisiizi, it was time to head to London to help Ruth move from one location to another.  She has a room in a house about 25 minutes walk from the school in Islington where she works as a Primary School Teacher.  In addition to this she has also been working on her Masters' Thesis with Homerton College, Cambridge and we have shared in this joyful process by reading proofs etc rather than wasting our time on secondary activities like sleeping!  But its pretty well ready to hand in as we write this and its looking to be an interesting and engaging thesis.

so, after the move, we headed up the A10 to retrace our historical footsteps as we attended a CMS conference held at All Nations where we had studied decades ago just before we were married.

It was a good few days of interaction with some inspiring people and some good sessions, not least the masterful session led by Martin Goldsmith who remains as stimulating and provactive as ever!

We enjoyed a walk in the countryside and will take back photos of the fields to amaze friends in Kisiizi!

Then on to stay with Jonathan Jones and his family... his daughter Georgie came for a couple of months in her Gap Year and Jonathan, an orthopaedic surgeon, came for the first couple of weeks and left with a desire to help us develop orthopaedic services in Kisiizi... so we really enjoyed meeting the rest of the family and, as a wonderful bonus, Peter and Rebecca Winfrey with daughter Lizzy also came up to see us so a good time of catch up was enjoyed by all.

We do thank God for the amazing family of Kisiizi that extends to many parts of the world and allows Kisiizi to continue its extraordinary ministries...

a trip to the Netherlands...

We spent a week in Holland based at the home of Leonoor, one of Hanna's sisters.  The main reason for our journey was that, following the death of Hanna's dad, the siblings needed to sort through the house ready for it to go on the market. 

We were pleased to meet up with all the family including our nephew Justin and family back from Turkey and, of course, to be impressed at how the children are all growing and developing!

Noor and Hanna in the wind!

We had a trip to the Dutch seaside which was quite windy but pleasant.

We visited a charity that recycles medical equipment run by about 80 keen volunteers and this will be a useful resource for Kisiizi in the future we think...

Fine regalia!

We were delighted to be basking in reflected glory as we attended Mark's PhD graduation ceremony at the University of Reading.  We were blessed with a lovely sunny afternoon and Mark looked very distinguished in his historical garments and seemed a natural in the role! 

We also enjoyed meeting some of his colleagues and supervisors and then we went out with Mark and Ruth and their respective friends Sammie and Jacob for a lovely celebration meal together.

Time travel!

There MUST be a time warp somewhere on the way back from Kisiizi to Europe as time seems to have rushed by in a whirlwind... and so much has happened so apologies to those regular readers of this blog who thought we had hibernated!  Fortunately we didn't forget to remember our 30th Wedding Anniversary!

As soon as we arrived back in UK Ian was off to London to the Royal Society of Medicine / Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health conference on international child health.  Ian had in the past shared an office with the professor who introduced the conference so it was good to catch up and also to chat with Peter Nash who has co-ordinated the RCPCH Global Links programme that has sent Kisiizi a number of excellent registrars in the past couple of years.  Unfortunately the DfiD grant via THET (Tropical Health & Education Trust) which has allowed RCPCH to run the scheme is being discontinued which is a great shame as the programme has proved very successful with both registrars and Kisiizi.  Peter Nash had visited Kisiizi only a few months ago and remains very positive about our work so will endorse future paediatric trainees who come to Kisiizi even if there is no college funding.
At the end of the conference Ian met with a colleague from the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine as they are proposing to send a group of doctors participating in the Diploma of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene to Kisiizi for a week of practical work.

A couple of days later we were back down to London to attend the Friends of Kagando day as we would like to strengthen Kisiizi's links with other church hospitals, something we had done 25 years or so ago when first in Kisiizi and which proved mutually beneficial.

Then on to the annual Christian Medical Fellowship Developing Health course which runs for two weeks and is a brilliant mix covering all the medical specialties for those wishing to work in resource-poor countries.  We are "hosts" so try to look after the participants (we had about 79 in total of whom 39 were there for the full two weeks).  Ian co-ordinates the Paediatrics Day and is one of the course directors.  As always we met inspiring people both participants and lecturers.  The course included much practical work varying from plaster of paris applications to breech deliveries to spinal anaesthesia to dental extractions from pigs' heads!

During the course Ian went into London to meet Anna Bishop of All Souls Church, Langham Place, who have kindly helped Kisiizi with support towards renovating an old clinic building to be a Maternal & Child Health clinic.  Kisiizi's links with All Souls actually go back to the founding of the hospital as the first doctor, John Sharp, and his wife Doreen had lived in the flat in the All Souls Rectory above John Stott who later visited them in Kisiizi!

Just for added interest this year we also had the spectacle of Venus and Jupiter being close together in the evening sky and could see their relative positions move daily.

Following the Developing Health course we went down to Battle to see the Carers & Sharers group who have faithfully supported Kisiizi for decades.  We enjoyed tea at the garden party and gave a talk about the work in Kisiizi which generated quite a few questions and a good discussion.

One unexpected result was that for the first time we came across a PORTABLE oxygen concentrator.  We do, of course, have quite a few standard concentrators in Kisiizi as our main oxygen sources but didn't realise that they are now available in a portable format which is very attractive for us as it offers the chance to move oxygen-dependent patients to x-ray or to the wards after surgery etc as the devices work on batteries.  They also have a connector to a vehicle socket so offer the potential to transport patients to other units which we rarely have to do but when it does occur it is usually with very sick cases who need oxygen and until now we had to rely on cylinders which all too quickly run out.

Subsequently we visited medical equipment charities in Holland and UK and have been able to access with the help of the Battle group a compact device that will help us achieve the above goals.

Friday, 17 July 2015


This year's UK Friends Day will be on
Saturday 19th September, 2015
at Brookside Church, Brookside Close, Gipsy Lane, Earley, Reading RG67HG

Car park available at the venue.  Arrive for coffee from 9.45am, meeting starts at around 10.30am.  Bring a packed lunch, we will provide tea, coffee etc.  The meeting will end at around 4.30-5pm.  Booking is not required.  Unfortunately we cannot provide childcare.

FD don't miss

The programme will include feedback from Kisiizi and some special interest groups.  We expect to have some visitors from Kisiizi including Sr. Agness, our Patient Safety Nurse; Joseph, our Biomedical Technician and Francis, the new In-Charge of our Laboratory. Others may also be present and we will post details as they are confirmed.

The day will be a great opportunity to update about the varied ministries of Kisiizi, to pray for the on-going work and to network with other Friends of Kisiizi many of whom have worked in Kisiizi or visited in the past.
If you need collecting from the station we may be able to help. Contact Jocelyn or Philip Haynes on 07503029820 or 07947053111

Friday, 1 May 2015

Time flies!

Our son Mark has just been out to visit us, his first trip to Kisiizi for 10 years!  Yet so many people remembered him (though wouldn’t necessarily have recognized him!) and it brought back a lot of memories.It was a real treat to have him with us in Kisiizi...

Mark completed his PhD just before Christmas and is now teaching undergraduates chemistry in the University of Reading.  He could only come for a short time but we were able to pack a great deal in and really enjoyed having time with him.   

Straight after Ian had spoken at the Good Friday service and we had had lunch we set off for a 24 hour visit to Ishasha, the closest section of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, and were blessed to see herds of elephants, buffalo and many antelope types as well as a hyena, warthog, baboons etc plus hippos in the river that is the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.  

But the highlight was the animals in the trees.  Ishasha is famous for its tree-climbing lions, the only place this occurs other than a location in Tanzania.  We found 3 lions up in a fig tree, mostly quite sleepy but one lioness then woke up and sat up looking fairly fierce!  


 Then, as we started driving back towards the park information centre, our ranger spotted a leopard in a tree… this was a real thrill as we have never previously seen a leopard in the wild as they are often nocturnal and quite shy so difficult to find.

No TV for us in Kisiizi but we enjoyed one night of the power cut to look at the stars and planets with a small telescope and followed in Galileo’s footsteps as we gazed at the moons of Jupiter, and then looked at the nebula in Orion… another breath-taking experience.

Finally we went with Mark to Lake Bunyonyi, the lake of the little birds, for 24 hours, and had a swim, watched some of the birds and relaxed together before taking him down to Kigali for his plane home.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Clinical developments and visitors


Our new Accident and Emergency area is proving valuable as it gives us much better space and facilities for stabilizing very sick patients arriving day and night in Kisiizi.   It did require a bit of structural change to make doorways wide enough for trolleys to use.

 For example Ian was called to an unconscious 4 year old who had been hit by a boda-boda (motor-bike) and knocked down.  She needed a collar to stabilize her neck and medication to reduce brain swelling.  She had a fit needing anti-convulsants.  Her mother arrived and promptly collapsed on the floor due to her distress as she thought her daughter would never recover.   

However, thankfully, the child was transferred safely to children’s ward on a trolley, using the new paths that connect the A&E/Out-Patient building to the wards.  The next day she was sitting up and eating and has now been discharged well much to the delight of staff and family.



The laboratory is also upgrading.  We have been able to create a new phlebotomy room so patients no longer need to come into the lab itself for blood tests.  We have put in new hatches for samples and new benches and we are re-configuring the layout of test equipment to make space for the new analysers that have been installed.  Our new In-Charge, Francis Orishaba, is settling in very well and demonstrating much initiative and enthusiasm so our lab services are definitely going up a gear (or two!)
new CD4 machine to monitor HIV patients
Clinical Staff training session with visiting colleagues
With this support plus input from Dr. Charlie Martin-Bates, a recently retired GP from Reading, we have been updating our Diabetic Clinic arrangements and hope to run a much more comprehensive service.  This is appropriate as the incidence of diabetes continues to rise and has hitherto been poorly provided for so many patients have developed complications that might have been avoided.
Dr. Ian Kemp also came and has worked with our surgeons Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Robert to develop our upper-gastro-intestinal endoscopy service.  This is also very opportune as we have a high incidence of stomach cancer in our community and diagnosing it earlier may avoid much suffering.
We also enjoyed a fortnight’s visit from Jonathan Jones an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Stamford who kindly brought out some very useful equipment and hopes to support the development of orthopaedic services here.  This tied in very well with a further team from Dublin.  As well as physiotherapists we were pleased to have an Occupational Therapist and, for the first time in Kisiizi, three dietitians who looked at our malnutrition programme for children and the work on improving diabetic control.
Dublin team running an Audit session
Currently we have a 6 day visit from Dr. Jim Hansen, with his wife Suzanne from USA.  They visit Kiwoko Hospital once or twice a year and kindly agreed to come down to Kisiizi to help as Jim is an Adult Cardiologist.  So we have run a Cardiac Clinic and been able to get an opinion and echocardiogram on many patients which has been valuable. 

So we are really grateful for all the support and encouragement and practical help our visitors bring with them

Monday, 27 April 2015

In all weathers...

dust trail from a passing vehicle
A month or so ago and the problem was dust in the dry season, any vehicle driving along on the murram (gravel) roads leaving a long cloud in the wake… not so pleasant for any pedestrians…  It also meant our river water levels were lower and so we had some power cuts in the evenings at peak demand time.  

But on a positive note the sun reveals some breathtakingly beautiful colours in the world around such as these flowers…
Now we are into the wet season.  We are about 5,500 feet above sea-level here in the Kigezi highlands so not surprisingly we are sometimes in cloud and can have quite violent thunderstorms as happened last week… unfortunately a lightning bolt must have connected to our high-tension wires and resulted in the burning out of a control circuit board.  As a result our main 300kW hydro-electricity generator was out of action for a couple of days but the hospital ran without problem on our back-up 60kW hydro-electricity turbine.  We are grateful to the Kisiizi Hospital Power Limited staff and  supporters who worked to get everything back to normal.

 The photo below was taken in the late evening when it was pitch black - yes, its a flash photo, but in this case the flash did not come from the camera but from lightning...

 But most of the time we are blessed with beautiful weather patterns, changing lighting and skies...

Saturday, 21 February 2015

WHO programme developments

Kisiizi has a number of links with the World Health Organization and recently WHO published a report on Universal Health Coverage and Patient Safety & Quality.  Only five institutions from around the world had been invited to form a "Learning Laboratory" and Kisiizi is one of them.  This led to this initial report which should be the foundation of some important developments.

We also enjoyed a visit from the WHO Country Representative, Dr.Wondimagegnehu Alemu who toured the hospital and was interested to discuss updates on our Africa Partnerships for Patient Safety (APPS) programme and our progress with the Surgical Unit-based Safety Programme (SUSP).  We also reviewed the Universal Health Coverage work and various plans for the future.  Dr. Wondimagegnehu was accompanied by the District Health Officer from Kabale who is keen for Kisiizi to support further development of Patient Safety in the region.

Click here to see Kisiizi Hospital Website page on WHO Links for more information

Click here to see Kisiizi Hospital Website list of publications including the report mentioned above

Dr. Wondimagegnehu visiting the Special Care Baby Unit

Focus on Africa

This is the title of a regular BBC World Service programme and a suitable theme as we welcome pupils and staff from a primary school in Holloway, north London, who are having a special focus on Africa in the next few weeks. 

We do hope you enjoy this blog and it helps you as you discuss the differences for children growing up in a busy city in England with the very poor rural community around Kisiizi...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

All change...

It doesn't take too much in Kisiizi to be an excuse for a party or at least a cake to share... but recently we have had a lot of comings and goings...


We were sorry to say goodbye to Dr. Lynne Speirs, a paediatric registrar who worked with us for a number of months as part of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Global Links scheme.  This link has now been in place for a couple of years and has proved very valuable for Kisiizi and has given these doctors valuable and varied experience.
Ian, Lynne & Dr. Paul, our intern
 Other interns have completed their rotations including Dr. Treasure who was in the first group able to do the full year as Dr. Dwight McLeod joined us in August as Consultant Physician allowing us to add General Medicine to the existing specialties of General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics.  We also said goodbye to Godwin who has been in-charge of our laboratory for some years.
Dr Treasure (right) saying goodbye in Chapel

Dr. Charlie, Consultant Psychiatrist from New Zealand with his wife Cecelia

 Charlie & Cecelia said goodbye after a couple of months with us. Charlie provided valuable input to Psychiatry working with Sister Nancy and her team whilst Cecelia took many photographs and will be putting together a "coffee table" book illustrating aspects of Kisiizi which will be called A World of Difference -the design is still to be put together and we look forward to the finished item.

Rev. Patrick & Karen

However, the biggest change was to say farewell to Rev. Patrick Bagorogo and his wife Karen who have served in Kisiizi as Hospital Chaplain and Mothers' Union lead for many years.  As well as his principal role as Hospital Chaplain, Patrick also acted as Finance Manager for a period of time when there was a vacancy.  Karen was involved in many roles providing spiritual input to Children's Ward, and supporting the goat project which helps very poor families to have a better chance of feeding their children.

Sr. Nancy presents a gift at the big Farewell Party
Student Nurse presents gift in Chapel farewell for all the Staff

Final goodbyes before driving off (with Moses Mugume, left)


Sister Ruth has returned to Kisiizi after six months in Kampala having successfully completed training in Ultrasonography.  This will greatly improve the imaging department services as for a while Proscovia was the only full time sonographer.  

We are also training Bedad, previously our Orthopaedic Assistant, in a degree in Imaging which lasts four years but will mean in the end we will have a highly trained lead for the department.

Drs. Dash and Emily, Anaesthetic Registrar and GP respectively, join us with the Uganda Maternal and Newborn Hub link.  We are grateful for their support in theatre, developing high dependency care and maternity department support as well as helping with the introduction of more comprehensive triage as we open up the new Accident and Emergency area in our Out-Patient department.

We are delighted to welcome Francis Orishaba, a graduate Biomedical Scientist, to be our new In-Charge of the Laboratory services.  

This comes at a good time as we have just installed a range of new equipment to go up a gear in the support services offered to clinicians and improve our diagnostic and monitoring capabilities.
see    Lab Upgrade post on hospital website

We also look forward to another USA Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer, joining us in March as a Pharmacist to work with Barbara and Sandra, our Pharmacy Technicians.  This is also excellent timing as we are re-configuring our stores and introducing a new IT system called Stre@mline.

The new Staff Room is in the old bank building
We were excited to receive our new chaplain, Reverend Joshua Bwebale with his wife Jocelyn.  She is working with Radio Rukungiri whilst Joshua has a range of experience having worked as a teacher, pastor and more recently as a specialist counsellor for patients with HIV.

We had an initial welcome cup of tea in our new staff room and then a welcome lunch party on Saturday as they arrived.

Welcome Tea in new Staff Room
Rev. Joshua and Jocelyn Bwebale