Our Achievements So Far

Since 2005, the Uganda Women’s Health Initiative (UWHI) has been actively working to improve the lives and health of women in Uganda.
We’ve demonstrated our ability to set up and manage a wide range of women’s health-related projects and programmes, which have already made a huge difference to the lives of many women and families.
Read on to discover nine of our notable projects and achievements so far.

Advocacy and Patient Support

UWHI has been a source of start-up financial support for the Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organisation (UWOCASO).
Funding has been provided for various developments and activities, including supporting cancer patients through diagnosis and treatment, setting up and maintaining an office and awareness-raising events.
UWOCASO was founded in 2004 by five women cancer sufferers. Their important work is recognised by the Ministry of Health in Uganda and they’re planning to take expand their programmes across the country.

Cervical Cancer

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Equipment Donation

In 2006, UWHI organised a donation from the UCLH Trust of a large amount of medical equipment and furniture from the old Middlesex Hospital in London.
It took an enormous amount of organisation to not only dismantle and assemble everything, but also to transport it all safely to Uganda on a limited budget. Items included X-ray and anaesthetic equipment, defibrillator, crash and drugs trolleys, theatre lights and beds, worth in the region of £300,000.
Discover more about each of these projects, and hear from the women whose lives we’ve helped, in our special book – The Uganda Women’s Health Initiative: The First Five Years.

Neonatal Resuscitation

Neonatal death is a huge problem in Uganda. During their first year of life, 79 out of 1,000 babies die (compared to five in 1,000 in the UK) and in the first 28 days of life, 30 per 1,000 Ugandan babies sadly don’t survive.
Of the 35,000 babies born each year at Mulago Hospital, in Kampala, about 2,500 are admitted to the special baby unit for neonatal care. Around 12% – or 120 per 1,000 babies – suffer from birth asphyxia, or difficulty in breathing. In the UK, the average rate of birth asphyxia is just three in 1,000.
This project helped provide key skills to midwives and neonatal nurses to enable them to learn newborn resuscitation and life-support techniques. Training materials were written by Dr Mark Sellwood, a consultant neonatal paediatrician at UCLH, and equipment was taken to Uganda.
Nearly 500 midwives and health workers have now been trained and are passing on their newfound knowledge by training other health workers.

Palliative Care

The UWHI has worked with Hospice Africa and Makerere University Medical School to support the training of medical professionals in palliative care – caring for people with life-limiting diseases.
Hospice Africa has cared for over 16,000 people and the palliative care service has spread to 60% of the districts in Uganda.

Preventing Brain Damage in Newborns

In 2007, the UWHI carried out a pilot study on the use of brain-cooling to prevent or reduce brain damage in infants who’d suffered from lack of oxygen to the brain.
The pilot study results were published in The Lancet medical journal in 2008 and helped confirm the feasibility of doing a full, randomised control trial on the use of this technique in settings that have low resources. Funding for this larger trial has been granted and recruitment in Uganda has begun.

Radiotherapy Hostel

Women needing radiotherapy treatment in Uganda have a long way to travel. The only machine in the country is located at Mulago Hospital.
A total of 40% of all patients receiving palliative radiotherapy are cervical cancer patients, requiring a six week course of treatment. Those travelling a long way had nowhere to stay, so the Uganda Women’s Health Initiative supported the construction of a special radiotherapy hostel.
Located within the grounds of Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the hostel opened in 2009 and offers much-needed short-stay accommodation close to the radiotherapy department.

Women’s Health Conference

Our inaugural two-day conference on women’s health was held in Kampala in 2006.
Attended by over 250 health professionals, health practitioners and policy makers from across Uganda, the event was a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
It also proved useful to help start health interventions, identify the need for training and work together towards developing ways of improving women’s health.