Running a charitable health clinic in Uganda

The experiences and the ongoing challenges and enjoyment of managing a philanthropic health facility. Watching it grow through active community support and helping through coordination with national programmes, local NGO and groups and international like-minded people.

Monday, June 05, 2006

FANTA - Food and Nutrition

One aspect of the growth of Hope Clinic Lukuli has been realising that lots of good projects are set up and funded by bilateral donors and then close with the materials slowly depleting their stocks and the resource being lost. World Bank projects such as CHILD and NECDP in Kampala both had good materials, still admired by the Ministry of Health, but for which almost no copies remain for use.

The FANTA project was running with USAID funding under AED a US company and its materials cover infant health and nutrition. I have made contact with the US base who referred me to:
Robert KN Mwadime (MSc., MPH, Ph.D)
Regional HIV/AIDS Specialist
Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) Project
Academy for Educational Development
c/o Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care, Medical School, Mulago
P. O. Box 29140, Kampala, Uganda.
Tel: +256-41-530888 (w), +256-77-517438 (c)
Fax: +256-41-876

He is based in Kampala, but has a regional remit, and so referred me to Samalie working in the Ministry of Health, in room 2-d-208. In mid to late June she will have printed copies of the FANTA materials and I can approach her for copies for the clinic. Her number is 0772 491551.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Engineering Missionaries International

Their website says:
"Engineering Ministries International (eMi) is a non-profit Christian development organization made up of architects, engineers and design professionals who donate their skills to help children and families around the world step out of poverty and into a world of hope
What this means is that professionals in the design, architecture and construction field have realised that their skills can benefit other people and ensure that good ideas and intentions can be carried out with a cost effective and correctly designed and planned structure.

They were working in Uganda on a larger project in Jinja town and met us in 2004 to review our very bad drawings for a new health centre. John Sauder and later, Chad Gamble, went away and came back with full AutoCad architectural sketches with dimensions, cut away of walls, specifications for roof construction and even plans for the latrines and soakpit. Before EMI invest their time and skills they have the understandable need to be convinced that you can fund and complete their planned construction in the coming weeks or months and, as noted on their application form, that:

+ The project ministers to the needs of the poor.

+ There is a direct and ongoing proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

+ The property on which the project is to be built is owned by the ministry

+ There is a planned method of funding project construction and operation.

Our landlord in Lukuli is the Church of Uganda who recognised the services we provide to the community, however we equally serve the Born Again churches, the Catholics and the Muslim groups around us. In Uganda the various Christian branches of the church are treated as separate entities anyway. Our staff revert to the spiritual strength felt by our patients during sickness and particularly for the HIV counselling and testing services and Care and Support to those living with HIV/AIDS.

Mango - management accounting for non governmental organisations

Before I give you some information on Mango - I hope that readers don't confuse these posts as attempts to get commercial gain for Hope Clinic Lukuli's owners or the organisations referred to. Mango, for example, is a repository of posts and resources from accounting, administration and field staff around the world who are sharing their ideas and experiences. They don't get paid for it, no matter how much their good ideas are used or adopted.

This blog is trying to follow the example set by Mango and GoodwillGallery where somebody who has developed an idea offers it to another person to save their time and effort - which means they can concentrate on their skill areas and perhaps share their ideas.

As for the owners of Hope Clinic Lukuli - none of the eight of us take any money or financial benefits from the clinic's operations. (I had to amend that as I almost said benefits of any type. I must admit to a pride in managing to achieve this and a good feeling when the people around where we live say they like the clinic, the staff there and its services).

So, Mango. In Uganda it is best known as a telephone service, secondly as a great food! But for finance people working for small NGO or charities, trusts or clubs, mango org uk should be a place to know. You can get advice on accounting software, free examples of accounting cashbooks and vouchers to control the business/charity/trust and even enroll to pay for training courses in the country where you are working. The link is on the blog front page

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Working with Kampala City Council

Kampala City Council is the District authority responsible for health service provision in the city centre and the surrounding residential areas. Our area of Lukuli Nanganda, in Makindye Division is therefore under its jursidiction and guidance.

KCC are considering Hope Clinic Lukuli on two fronts, one as a Makindye Teenage Information and Health Centre similar to another one on the other side of the city, the other as part of KCC's response to HIV service needs. The HIV Focal Point person is Dr Sendagire and he is discussing with Dr Penninah and Ms Thayer of IDI about their coordinated development of services in the city. We shall see during June how we get on

Why start a blog about managing the clinic?


The clinic started over six years ago when a set of friends agreed that a small community health clinic was struggling to continue to function and could be helped. An elderly and very dedicated midwife was tending to the needs of her patients and doing so with little pay or supplies of materials or drugs. More background can follow later.

What has been nice about Hope Clinic Lukuli and its growth is that we have achieved it without any of the management committee being medics and with skills ranging from a small shop keeper to civil engineer, a local council member to a teacher, an accountant to a retired civil servant. The community, village, people around the clinic have alternative places to seek medical advice and treatment but choose Hope Clinic Lukuli and return to it with friends.

The task of managing the growth between the eight of us on the committee has made very clear that lots of support in terms of materials, advice, best ways of acting and groups to work with already exist. They just don't know about you and your needs and they are not always as approachable as they could be - or you don't know they want partners.

This blog will be the memo pad for what I and the others continue to work on for the clinic. It will also be a history of our challenges but more usefully for readers, a record of how we overcame them, who we found ourselves talking to and working with. We have a website but this may be an easier thing for me to update.