Atutur Hospital is a small, 100 bed, government hospital in Kumi District in Eastern Uganda which serves a large rural population. It is understaffed and the infrastructure has been poorly maintained. The Atutur Hospital Support Network Link was set up in 2007 to support staff training and to help in the redevelopment of the hospital in relation to infrastructure and equipment. UK partners include Sheffield Medical Group (SMG), Newtraid and Engineers for Overseas Development. (EFOD)
The vision of SMG is to develop a sustainable, multidisciplinary link embracing primary and secondary care in Sheffield and Kumi district. This link seeks to provide inspiration, promote initiative, foster understanding and facilitiate change for the mutual benefit of healthcare in the UK and Uganda.
Following an initial needs assessment, clinical activity by SMG has been divided between Atutur Hospital and the surrounding community. Within the hospital the focus has been on the Casualty and Maternity departments whilst community activities have concentrated on providing a programme of Village Health Team training to a pilot village within a few miles of the hospital.
Newtraid has collaborated with other UK organisations and hospital engineering staff to try and resolve some of the limitations of the built environment. In 2009 EFOD built a clinical waste incinerator at Atutur Hospital using local materials and labour. Fund raising in the UK by members of Atutur Hospital Support Network has enabled the provision of many items of equipment including 3 Oxygen concentrators.
In 2010 it became clear that the small size, staffing problems and communication difficulties at Atutur hospital presented insuperable obstacles to the development and maintenance of a viable Link. We therefore decided to expand the partnership to include Kumi Hospital, a 350 bed PNFP (Private, Not for Profit) unit which has a range of secondary care specialties not available at Atutur Hospital. This gives potential to involve more UK hospital clinicians and administrators with the Link, giving it firmer foundations.
At the same time SMG began working in the UK with the Nottingham Ngora Group which has links with Freda Carr Hospital (PNFP) and the government District Maternity Unit in Ngora, near Kumi. The main focus of NNG is maternal and child health. Activities have been predominantly in secondary care but have recently begun to include VHT training as well.
In recognition of these new partnerships and the wider geographical area of activities, the Link has been renamed Teso Health Link. Teso is the region in eastern Uganda in which lie Kumi, Atutur, Ngora and their surrounding rural communities.
Dr Ruth Obaikol
PO box 9