“Ensuring access to quality obstetric care is the primary way to improve the lives of mothers and their children.”
Doctor Sister Priscilla Busingye just became the first African and the first woman to receive the L’Chaim Prize and its $500,000 for “Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service.” A panel of leaders in African clinical medicine selected Dr. Busingye because of her focus on “direct patient care” and “transformational medical projects.”
Dr. Busingye is one of very few Ob/Gyn specialists in southwestern Uganda. There, she is known for her tireless work on behalf of her community’s women and children. “As a young doctor, my passion was to help the poor in the community,” she explained. “One of the sites was where women delivered babies in an old wooden shack that served as a labor ward. These conditions inspired me to dream big and transform Rwibaale Clinic to be a quality facility where babies could be delivered safely.”
Transforming the Healthcare Landscape
Upon receiving this incredible resource, Dr. Busingye said, “Ensuring access to quality obstetric care is the primary way to improve the lives of mothers and their children. Building a model center in the village of Rwibaale will enable training and mentoring of other health providers to learn what is possible when care is provided the right way.”
The funds will help Dr. Busingye sponsor training and create new avenues of community outreach. The Rwibaale Clinic will be transformed into a “center of excellence” for obstetrics. The clinic will be transformed into one that can deliver over 1,000 babies each year, provide primary care for 5,100 impoverished families, and train medical personnel to improve healthcare throughout southwestern Uganda.
“Sister Busingye and her team of mentors will visit other hospitals in Uganda and help to expand them,” added Dr. John Fielder, co-founder and chief executive of African Mission Healthcare. “It’s very important to have a center of excellence that people can look at and say ‘that’s the way it should be done.’”
Inequality in Healthcare
In Uganda, $500,000 goes much farther than in the United States. In the region where Dr. Busingye’s Rwibaale Clinic is located, the average income per capita is only $250 per year. Dr. Fielder explains, “In Uganda, repairing a fistula costs about $200… In the US, you could pay a couple hundred dollars per stitch for the same thing.” While resources like the L’Chaim Prize can make a world of difference in helping thousands of people at places like the Rwibaale Clinic, healthcare remains unreachably expensive for most of the people living in the area with their meager income.
With Doctor Sister Priscilla Busingye’s open heart, dedication to saving the lives of mothers and children, and her plan to raise the standard of excellence in all of Uganda, there is more than just hope: there is real action for lasting change.
Photo Credit: Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau