As part of its community development initiative the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) donated a percentage of earnings from gorilla tourism to roofing the outpatient wing of the Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) in 2004.
The BCH situated about two kilometers from the entrance of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and provides health care to the local population, UWA staff, tourists and staff who work for the tour camps and lodges near the park.
Before this hospital began operations, the UWA staff had to walk eighteen kilometers to the nearest district clinic for basic health services.
The Buhoma Community Hospital is a mission hospital under the Church of Uganda. It started as a clinic under a tree in 2003 and with help from the local community, visitors and donors; it has grown to a 60-bed hospital employing 80 mainly local staff giving high quality care to 20,000 people annually.
Before this hospital opened many children and adults used to die from preventable or treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, HIV/AIDs and also from unsafe deliveries. The hospital has an outpatient wing with four wards for patients requiring admission, laboratory and x-ray and ultra-sound machines. It also offers dental services.
The hospital also has a Children’s Ward and a novel Mothers Waiting Hostel, where pregnant women who are due to give birth can board as they await their time of delivery. In this rural area where transport is a challenge, many women used to suffer and even die because they could not get to hospital in time for delivery. This hostel, plus a delivery unit equipped for caesarian operations, has saved the lives of many women and babies.
The hospital is also involved in an aggressive community outreach programme tackling the main health challenges in the surrounding rural communities.
In addition to the Buhoma Community Hospital, UWA has donated to other health centres in the district namely:
• Ntugamano Health Centre
• Kaara Health Centre
• Remera Health Centre
The monetary contributions made to these and other health centres are used in setting up much-needed buildings to house out-patients and staff.