Doctors on Bwama Island
Short report from the medical doctors from Slovenia who worked at the Bwama Health Centre.
The Bwama Health Centre is a fine example of international cooperation, in this case, the cooperation of Slovenian doctors and nurses that work within the section of tropical medicine of the medical faculty of the University of Ljubljana, Edirisa UK and the Ugandan public health services. Staff from Slovenia have been coming regularly to this part of Uganda since 2006, trying to provide a steady and quality health service for the people living in the vicinity of Lake Bunyonyi.
Daily we examined on average forty to fifty patients during our regular hours and emergency cases and deliveries at other times in the day or night. In 2015 over 3,000 adults and 8,000 children were examined and 96 babies delivered.
Our working day starts with taking patients’ vitals and writing them in the patients books. The work then continues in our examination rooms, where we talk to and examine our patients with the help of translators. When we reach a diagnosis, the patient goes to the pharmacy, gets written into the registry for the purposes of the local district health officer, and receives the proper medicine. If they require additional treatment or diagnostics, unavailable at our health centre, they are referred to Kabale regional hospital – 10 km away. During our time at the island we have had quite a few baby deliveries, and more are to be expected to come, when the new maternity ward will be operational. For now, many women still chose to give birth at home, which is partly the reason for a high perinatal children mortality rate. The clinic is offering ante natal visits and maternity aftercare which is making a big difference. All these services are offered free of charge.
The outpatients clinic, built by Edirisa UK and equipped by us, has three examination rooms; a small laboratory with equipment for basic tests; pharmacy; storage room; room for dental services and a room for measuring vital signs of the patients. Medicines are provided by the government and part by the funds gathered in Slovenia. Power for the clinic is from solar panels which we have been slowly increasing. There is now enough power for the use of our dental chair, which we brought with us from Slovenia.
The other part of the building is the staff quarters for visiting doctors – a living room and kitchen area and two bedrooms. This part is only used by Slovenian doctors and other staff while they are working at Bwama. Outside of this building, there is also a small shower and toilet facilities for us and separate facilities for the patients.
The other building is a maternity ward, part built by the Government and being finished by Edirisa UK, it is almost completed and now needs equipping.
We believe the clinic is a cause well worth supporting and it is our hope that cooperation between the three parties involved continues for years to come.