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Ugandan Hospital Wins Stars Impact Award

Batwa Pigmies learn healthcare planning and financing

An isolated hospital in southwestern Uganda is the recipient of an international award.

Bwindi Community Hospital is the winner of the 2011 Africa & Middle East Stars Impact Awards, in the category of health.

It’s located at the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is the only hospital in a radius of 40 km.

It was selected for its pioneering work in providing healthcare to some of the most marginalized communities in East Africa, including the Batwa Pygmies.

Dr. Biriungi Mutahunga, medical superintendent of Bwindi Community Hospital, was among the recipients who attended the awards ceremony in London, Thursday, November 24th. He said he was delighted to receive the Stars Impact Award on behalf of the hospital.

“We have a population of about 100,000 people…with a wide spectrum of health problems, ranging from preventable diseases to non-communicable diseases,” he said. “One of the challenges is having equitable healthcare that is accessible to the entire population.”

Biriungi said winning the Stars Impact Award, which he said comes with $100,000 in unrestricted funding, will help the community provide financing for healthcare.

“Over the past year, they have been working to modernize the community into pulling together their resources into micro-finance skills,” said Biruingi, because in that way “the community is able to participate in the planning for their healthcare as well as the financing of it.”

The top priority of the hospital is reducing the prevalence of diseases within the inaccessible communities of the Bwindi region.

Other African Stars Foundation award winners: South Africa’s arepp: Theatre for Life (the first part of its name reflects its beginning as the African Research and Educational Puppetry Programme Trust) received the Education Award; Mombasa-based Wema Centre Trust received the Protection Award; and Eket-based Stepping Stone Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation was awarded the Rising Star Award.

Click to listen to full interview.