Hope Clinic in Lukuli brings health to Community
February 2008: Housed in the Parish of Lukuli, Hope Clinic is located five kilometres from the centre of Kampala, Uganda and offers medical services to the 12,000 strong community comprising farmers of small holdings of land, sole traders and families who travel into Kampala for employment. The nearest government facility is five kilometres away from the Clinic and it is in this context that the importance of the great service by the clinic becomes apparent. While those on higher incomes can access the private and more distant government medical establishments, the under-privileged turn to the Clinic for their medical support and the staff work tirelessly to ensure that they are never let down. The clinic is supported through organizations which operate in the area, notable among them being Aggreko plc, the world leader in the provision of temporary power and temperature control services.
Formed in 2000, the Clinic entered new premises in July 2005 and has grown significantly to offer an extensive range of medical services to an ever-increasing base of people. The sharp increase of over 33 percent from last year’s patient inflow is a definite indication of the ever-increasing impact of the Clinic. The medical staff at the clinic attend to 50 antenatal cases, deliver 15-20 babies and test over 100 people for HIV a month. The staff strength has gone up to 22 and includes counselors as well as paramedic staff to keep up with the constant influx of the patients. “We are now attending to over 600 patients through our out-patient department. Last year that number stood at 450. This increase reflects the trust that the community reposes in us and the quality services offered,” said Philip Mitchell, a co-founder of Hope Clinc Lukuli.
In recognition of its facilities and services, the clinic was awarded accreditation from the Aids Control Programme, Ministry of Health as a HIV Treatment Center. One of the few non governmental organizations to receive such recognition, the clinic can now access free HIV testing kits from the Ministry to further strengthen and widen its support to the 300,000 strong Makindye community.
“Our key challenge is to balance sustainable growth whilst we expand. Additional staff may be needed to cater to the increasing patient load but often the receipts from the general practice do not enable us to meet the salary of the new staff member. There is yet another scenario, where we take on staff to support the expanding free services offered such as HIV testing and child immunization, yet they cannot recover their costs if they are taken for such services which are free to patients,” commented Mitchell about some of the challenges faced. “To not offer the service denies the community what they need, yet to add the staff means expansion is not sustainable in the longer term,” he said.Setting in context the importance of donations by international organisations such as Aggreko plc, Mitchell said, “The generous contribution makes it possible for us to get an additional support counselor as well as expand in terms of grades of staff to a Clinical Officer - Deputy Doctor. This allows us to provide better health care for the surrounding community without compromising on the staffing and really paves the way for a sustained effort.”Aggreko plc had recently donated Uganda Shillings 10 Million to the clinic. Commenting on this association, Julian Ford, Marketing and Business Development Director, Aggreko International, said “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Hope Clinic Lukuli to provide it with necessary support for its community program. Since 2005, Aggreko has partnered with the Clinic to provide some of Uganda’s disadvantaged communities with access to medical care that would otherwise be out of reach because of various limitations. Our efforts have focused primarily on assisting those who might not otherwise have the funding necessary to access primary healthcare through the Clinic.”
Fuelled by such corporate support and community recognition, the Clinic hopes to expand into new areas through focussing on the youth and teen population as well as widening the scope and reach of the general practice. The priority is to launch programs which educate the community in safe health practices. The Hope Clinic aims to deliver its promise of providing the community medical information and treatment they require at a price they can afford and thereby live up to its mission of improving local medical history and general lifestyle.