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.
“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)
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.
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.
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.