Experiences from Kisiizi

On my journey to Kisiizi Hospital, I didn’t know much about where I was going to explore for next two months except that which I had heard from my mother-that I took my first breath there. I was yet to gain my own experience more than twenty years later.

Kisiizi Hospital gets its name from the Majestic falls, Kisiizi falls which stand about 100 metres tall, few yards behind the hospital itself. You can always feel the aura of cold breeze roaming across the hospital compound especially in the morning! Historically It a monument in history of Kigezi where young girls who took an early pregnancy before marriage were thrown over by their own brothers as a punishment.

Kisiizi Hospital, a private not-for-profit hospital institution is found in Rukungiri district, south-western Uganda, approximately 42kms by road from district headquarters. It is a Church of Uganda, community hospital founded by Dr John Sharp a missionary doctor in 1958. The bed capacity of Kisiizi hospital is 250 plus 10 incubators in the Special Care Unit.  The hospital is a fees-paying hospital though no one is turned away due to inability to pay. The fees collected from the patients cover 40% expenses with supplementary coming from other hospital ventures. It receives 4% support of expenses from Government of Uganda.  The hospital also receives contributions from donors within Uganda and overseas.

One of supportive institutions is Kisiizi Hospital School of Nursing training about 200 nurses and midwives each year, who use the hospital facilities for their practice. There is also the Kisiizi Hospital Primary School for educating the school going children of the hospital staff and the catchment community. The illuminating Kisiizi Electricity has a 300 kW hydroelectric project which supplies the hospital and the town of Kisiizi. All these projects give Kisiizi Hospital a strong stand at its motto “Life in its fullness.” Kisiizi town center thrives on its own like a self-contained haven.

Providing quality and affordable care to a rural population has never been easy feat to pull off; in most parts of the country, it is an illusion. What stood out for me is how people in a rural setting were able to access this quality of care! It’s key to note that all the relevant specialists (surgeon, obstetrician, physician and pediatrician) are available; 14 days a week.

The Hospital runs an amazing Kisiizi Hospital Insurance Scheme covering members in 4 local districts of Rukungiri, Kabale, Ntungamo and Kanungu with over 360000 registered beneficiaries. Each member subscribes with Ug Shs 14000 per year (<$4) and receive a range of essential medicines free, cover for all emergency health problems and acute illness and up to 25% subsidized fees on major operations. This is particularly relevant in the context according to the global health expenditure report 2014 where 41.3% of Ugandans finance their health bills with out-of-the-pocket payments with no functioning national health insurance plan.

According to World Health Organisation’s Africa Health Transformation Program 2015-2020 with a vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a health system attains UHC when all people receive quality and equitable health services (promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitative and palliative) without financial and other barriers. So when the Director World Health Organization Dr Chan talks about UHC, I don’t see how less Kisiizi has been a pioneer in this, providing financial risk protection to its patients. The challenge to universal health coverage is not just geographical, but also in the availability of access at all times of day and night.



The insurance scheme is an example of the provision of “quality health care to poor people in support of goals such as universal health coverage and patient safety.  A big ingredient to this being possible has been creating trust in the system and Kisiizi being a faith based health facility has had that to its advantage. If this model can be translated to other regions, or at national scale, as a Nation we can then begin to talk about real transformative health care delivery.

The hospital has taken the edge in the use of ICT in hospital care, with introduction of a streamline system stream@line. The Stre@mline, an IT system designed in Kisiizi, captures all prospective data on patient’s vitals, diagnosis and allergies will help to address the concerns about poor quality, patchy data and will instead help to provide “more robust evidence for reforms in patient care. It ensures patient safety and encourages good record of patient well-being over time. The care offered at Kisiizi is one to be rivaled for the quality and reach to the people who are in most need for it. Being enlisted by WHO as a model hospital in Uganda, two in Africa for best safe surgical practices is one that has attracted other institutions to pick a leaf.

\"theatre\" Inside on of the operating theaters in Kisiizi Credit; G, Okumu

This is slowly opening a new chapter in healthcare of medical tourism here in Uganda, and Africa as a whole. Satellite hospitals have flocked to learn from this budding community.  How such a small place can come to give life to people in 60km radius area is something to reckon with! With the medical cases it attracts, it makes it one of good places for an undergraduate student to get hands on. Maybe it is high time we also built on these unique local advantages at each health centre to attract and also maintain health practitioners.

I also took the chance of the typical Kigezi hilly countryside to get in touch with majesty of the intertwining hills. Climbing some of these exercises your heart and lungs, leaving you challenged and wishing for less. I cant forget to salute my fellow colleagues and special friends I met in the medical interns in Kisiizi; they kept it warm.  I surely experienced more than what meets the eye in Kisiizi; Hasta la vista.

\"IMG_20160612_171532.jpg\" Trekking the mountainous countryside.










3 thoughts on “Experiences from Kisiizi”

  1. Pingback: Experiences from Kisiizi | ahimbisibweprosper

  2. Been there and it's as beautiful as you have said. It truly is high time health care providers of this country learned to develop practical solutions to the problems of our sorry health care system without marginalising a few individuals. Self -sustenance and universal care have been embodied by Kisiizi hospital indeed....Well done!!

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