This Global Grant will provide $132,000 for a backup generator and solar voltaic roof panels for the Teresa Ayiko International Hospital in Atiak, northern Uganda. The backup generator is $41,000 and the solar voltaic roof panels are $91,000. The 100,000 square foot hospital is was built by the Alliance for African Assistance-Uganda, a Uganda non-profit organization with strong ties to Rotary. Districts 5340 and 9211 worked together closely to raise over $300,000 to fund the hospital's medical supplies (GG1863836), making it the largest Rotary grant ever in East Africa. The hospital is expected to open in 2020, providing a broad range of services including surgery, anesthesiology, maternity, pediatrics, and dentistry, for a population of 100,000.
The need for the backup generator and solar panels is based on two factors- the unreliability of electricity in the region and the limited financial resources of the hospital. The success of the hospital, in particular the well being of its patients, will depend upon a consistent availability of electrical power. Northern Uganda struggles with an expensive, unstable supply of electricity. In the Atiak region, the power often shuts off five to seven times a day. The hospital will be unable to provide consistent care without a dependable power supply. This grant would allow for three sources- first, solar power, second, the electrical supply, and third, the backup generator. The solar voltaic roof panels will provide up to 80% of the hospital's electricity needs, freeing up financial resources for core operation expenses.
Uganda has one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal deaths in Sub-Sahara Africa. Infant mortality is 57.6 per 1000 births, compared to Europe at 4 per 1000 births. The rate of maternal death is also very high (1 in 47 compared to 1 in 5800 in Europe). Mortality for children under five is also high due to pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Northern Uganda has also been affected by Ebola and tropical diseases including sleeping sickness.
Atiak was hard hit by two decades war in northern Uganda. The worst day was 20th April 1995 when the rebels rounded up hundreds of civilians, handpicked young boys to make into child soldiers, and young girls as sex slaves. Three hundred remaining captives were executed by gunfire. The conflict ended ten years ago, but the healthcare infrastructure continues to struggle. The population remains economically disadvantaged and still suffers from post-conflict trauma.
Uganda has the third highest birth rate in the world, at 43.4 per 1000 population. So the direct beneficiaries of this project will include outpatient and inpatient care for an estimated 2,000 babies, their mothers, and their families. In addition, the new hospital will provide direct medical services for a population of 100,000. Because of its location just 35 kilometers from the border with South Sudan, the hospital is also expected to serve a substantial number of the over 1 million refugees who have fled into northern Uganda from South Sudan's current civil war.
The hospital arose from a needs assessment conducted by the Atiak community. A Uganda non-profit organization, the Alliance for African Assistance-Uganda, agreed to build and own the hospital, and the Community donated the land to the Alliance for that purpose. The Chief of the Atiak Community, Richard Apire, is the Chairman of the hospital Board. Mr. Apire has a B.A. from the University of Nairobi and is a retired banker who has worked with the World Bank. He is also currently Chairman of the Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority.
The hospital has the enthusiastic support of the Executive Director of nearest hospital, St. Mary's Hospital Lacor in Gulu, Uganda, Dr. Cyprian Opira. Doctor Opira is a Past President of the Host Gulu Rotary Club who has been in the forefront of health care in northern Uganda for 30 years. He has lost two of his Uganda Rotarian doctor colleagues in the struggle against Ebola and HIV in Gulu, as noted in The Rotarian magazine in October, 2001, on pages 36-41. Major funding for the hospital has been provided by the San Diego affiliate of the Uganda Alliance for African Assistance, a non-profit organization that resettles refugees in San Diego. The San Diego Alliance has strong ties to the San Diego Rotary Club.
Rotary's close association with the Alliance gives us confidence that the equipment provided by this grant will be put to its intended use. We are also aware of the need for transparency, and we have made every effort to avoid any conflicts of interest.