Complete your Medical Electives at the

McNeil Medical Centre Uganda Lodge

An Interview from Hannah a former UK Medical Elective from Uganda Lodge. She goes into some depth about her work experiences and what you are likely to find there.

A mini video diary of a group of UK ladies doing their medical electives at the MCNeil Medical Centre. It shows some of their work and leisure activities including safaris.

A mini video and photo diary from Thomas (a volunteer) who went out to Uganda Lodge in September 2020 for a month, took excellent photos and made videos.

Introduction

The McNeil Medical Centre is in a Rural Western Ugandan location. It was funded by donations mainly from the UK, and finally opened early in 2014. We’re offering placements to students seeking medical electives abroad. Such students can get a good idea of what they may well be doing when they graduate, by shadowing in the nearby government hospital & at our Centre. The developing world is excellent in showcasing innovative approaches to medicine in a different work and life culture. You will also get more chances to take on more responsibility as good doctors and medical students are often harder to come by there. You might find in Uganda that the fourth-year medical students have more hands-on experience, while some of you will have more academic knowledge, so you will both benefit from working together.

We require that the students show copies of their educational standards and results; at what level, details of any relevant experience, such as first aid courses, or St Johns ambulance cadets etc. Testimonials from relevant people will also help secure a placement. We can put your tutors directly in touch with the Administrators or Doctors at the hospital for the purpose of completing and signing off your completed elective.

Medical Electives

We support International Students doing their Medical Electives. They work both at our Clinic and the nearby District Hospital. We also take our elective candidates on outreach in the villages.

Qualified medics on placement may also like the opportunity to train local staff as well as working with them, they can also offer some basic health advice to local villagers. To make the most of the placement we strongly recommend that such volunteers stay for at least a month but preferably longer, although shorter periods may be available subject to negotiation.

Successful candidates will stay at our Uganda Lodge guest house which is literally directly opposite the centre for a daily fee (£20 pp) including all food, facilities, and accommodation with hot showers in each room. If you would like to register an interest, please contact us using the form providing as much detail as possible. All candidates must speak English and applications are welcomed from any country.

A mini video/diary recorded by a group of UK nursing electives. It shows: life in Uganda and some of their work and some leisure activities including a Safari.

The McNeil Medical Centre

The Medical Centre hosts: a permanent nurse, a qualified Lab Technician and has regular visits regular visits from a local qualified doctor. It several roles within the community, including:

  • Basic primary care for villagers
  • Regular screening for the children in our own and nearby schools for the early signs of malaria and other life-threatening diseases
  • A First–Aid post - for passing traffic.
  • An ongoing vaccination programme for the villagers
  • Training to local health officers and trainee healthcare professionals from the surrounding area
  • Disease prevention and education addressing, amongst others, HIV/Aids and malaria
  • Regular Baby Clinics and Antenatal Check-ups

We can facilitate anyone who is fully qualified (nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists, opticians, lab technicians). We welcome volunteers of all ages, who have some medical experience, or just an interest as well as those wanting to experience Africa while doing their official Electives. You will get hands on experience.

A Picture

A Doctor and member of staff attending to a patient at the clinic.

A Picture

The baby clinic at McNeil Medical Centre. With a Volunteer called Thomas working there.

Testimonials

“As a junior doctor I attended the local district general hospital – Itojo, which is 0.5miles away from the lodge, easily travelled to either by foot or by hitching a quick ride. This experience gave me a great insight into the workings of a local hospital, and I got some great opportunities to be quite hands on in the emergency department."

"I returned to the lodge in 2017 as a GP and spent some time in the McNeil medical centre – situated in the grounds of the community project. It provides primary health care services to the local community and school. There were opportunities to screen and treat the children in the consulting rooms, and has a small dispensary attached to it as well with a few basic medications."

"Both trips to this community project provided me with not only a great holiday (the safari is a definite ‘must do’) but also an opportiunity to develop my skills as a medical professional and to do some charitable work. In the process I have been lucky enough to meet some of the most beautiful people not only in the locals but in fellow volunteers who have become lifelong friends." Amna Ahmed (November2017)

A video showing the living spaces in Uganda Lodge.

Volunteering

Volunteers from around the world have worked within the rural setting of Ruhanga in south-west Uganda for several years helping develop community projects that support young people, and their families establish a better future. The projects to date include a successful development school, now attended by over five hundred local children, workshops and a gravity well bringing clean, piped water into the community. A volunteer can take part in multiple projects whereas in other organisations a volunteer is often stuck to the one thing they sign up for.

Since 1990 the Human Development Report has published the Human Development Index (HDI) which provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income. Uganda’s HDI is 0.456, which gives the country a rank of 161 out of 187 countries with comparable data, placing Uganda below the regional average.

By volunteering, visiting as a tourist, completing a medical elective, or donating. You will help improve the health, education, and income of people in the region. This is because the McNeil Medical Centre is a project within a Ugandan NGO called ”Stand on Your Own”, which consists of: The Ruhanga Development School, an expanding vocational training centre; tourism generating projects and workshops run in the local fishing villages and Queen Elizabeth National Park safaris. Stand On Your Own’s website is here: http://standonyourown.org/ and talks about these projects in more depth.

Volunteering and placements are usually done by International applicants, because this is not a job offer –there is no payment and in addition volunteers will pay their own costs for accommodation, meals and all travel.

A mini video diary, of a lady and her friends and other volunteers, taking part in a variety of volunteering including building a classroom, teaching in a classroom, leading exercise, and football classes.

Who are the main contacts?

Project Director
Denis Aheirwe (in Uganda)
Mobile: +256 7015 36197
Mobile: +256 7747 68090
WhatsApp: Both numbers above
UK Coordinator
Ann McCarthy (in UK & Uganda)
Email: ann@ugandalodge.com
Tel: +44 1932 562757
Mobile: +44 7867 513588
Whatsapp: +44 7867 998414

Where is Uganda Lodge?

Uganda Lodge is in the small village of Ruhanga in the south-west corner of Uganda, close to the borders with Rwanda and the DRC. Ruhanga is 320km from Kampala (6-7 hours drive) and 55km from the city of Mbarara (45 minutes drive). Ntungamo is the closest town to the lodge, approximately 10 km away (8 mins drive).

What's the accommodation like?

Uganda Lodge has 15+ guest rooms, each accommodating between 1 and 4 people. All rooms have hot water showers and plug sockets (UK 3-pin). Flush toilets are in a separate block close to the rooms. Each room over-looks a pretty garden area with stunning views of the surrounding hills. It is usually possible to have your own room, but you may need to share during busy periods.

What are the rates like?

Full board, including all meals is £140 per person per week (or £20 per day). If you plan to stay with us longer than 3 months, we may be able to offer you a discounted rate. Any profits are reinvested into Ruhanga Development Nursery & Primary School or our other community projects. Please note: if you go on a safari you still pay for and keep your room.

What’s on the menu?

Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are provided daily on a self-service basis. Meals consist of a variety of different vegetables and sauces with meat or fish being offered a couple of times a week. Mashed or boiled potatoes, chips, spaghetti or rice are the usual accompaniments. Please advise us in advance if you have any special dietary requirements. Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and bottled water can be bought at the on-site bar. Luxury items Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are provided daily on a self-service basis. Meals consist of a variety of different vegetables and sauces with meat or fish being offered a couple of times a week. Mashed or boiled potatoes, chips, spaghetti, or rice are the usual accompaniments. Please advise us in advance if you have any special dietary requirements. Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and bottled water can be bought at the on-site bar. Luxury items such as Nescafe, Pringles and Cadburys can be bought locally, but we advise bringing your favourite coffee or herbal tea bags and snacks as local options may not be to your taste and are very limited.

What's the electricity supply like?

Whilst there is mains electricity at the lodge, local and regional power cuts can occur sometimes for a few hours at a time. As such, we recommend you bring one or more torches with you. There is a solar charging point, but we advise that you bring a portable USB power bank with you.

How do I keep in contact with friends and family?

You can buy a Ugandan SIM card in town, which you can load with texts, calls and/or data; there is now 4G coverage at the lodge. If you bring a laptop, you can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. There are several hotels in Ntungamo which may have free Wi-Fi and the town also has an internet café.

What monies should I bring?

Uganda’s official currency is the Ugandan Shilling, which cannot be purchased outside the country. We recommend bringing cash in Pounds Sterling, (or US Dollars/Euros) in clean, large denomination notes, which can be exchanged once in the country. There are 2 ATMs in the local town, which accept Visa Debit/Credit Cards. Please do not rely on Mastercard, Travel Money Cards or Travellers Cheques as these are generally not accepted. If planning on travelling to other East African countries, US Dollars would be the best currency to bring.

What's the weather like?

The weather in Ruhanga is usually warm-hot during the day (20-28⁰C), but at 1500m above sea level. It can get rather chilly at night (approx. 15⁰C). June and July are generally the driest months, with October-November and April-May usually being the wettest. When it does rain, it’s usually only heavy for an hour or two before the sun returns. It gets dark at about 7pm each night and light around 6.30am each morning, year-round.

What about laundry?

Plastic basins/buckets are provided in each room for washing your clothes and there are plenty of clothes lines in the lodge grounds. Laundry detergent can be bought locally. For a small fee, lodge staff can do your laundry (except underwear).

Where does all the money from the donations go?

100% of the donations go out to Uganda, none of the donated money is spent in the UK. However, the Virgin money app for donations needs a U.K. address as that is to do with its IT infrastructure.

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