By Charles Tumwesigye (CCAM)
In 2008, UWA in partnership with McGill University and Makerere University Biological Field Station established a small Dispensary at Kanyawara to provide cheap medical care to communities living around Kanyawara as one of the benefits from conservation to communities.
This was through the initiative of Dr. Colin Chapman and Dr. Lauren Chapman long term researchers with Kibale Fish and Monkey Project. The project was borne out of the realization that in rural Uganda, most suffering is not because we lack drugs or technology, but sadly, because accessibility to health services is very limited. For example, it has been estimated that in Uganda, 30% of deaths in children are from malaria which can be treated or prevented.
The dispensary has been involved in distributing free mosquito nets to families around the park in addition to providing cheap medical care for simple ailments like malaria. The health centre is now recognized by the Kabarole District Local Government at the level of Health Centre II and receives some drugs from government as well. The dispensary also receives from time to time volunteer intern doctors from Canada and the US seconded through McGill University who provide free medical care to communities around the park.
Arising out of the success of the dispensary at Kanyawara, Drs. Colin and Lauren Chapman of McGill University, Canada and another researcher Dr. Jessica Rothman from Hunter University College in New York together with Mr. John Makombo (Director Conservation UWA) and Mr. Charles Tumwesigye (Chief Conservation Area Manager UWA) hatched a plan to start a mobile clinic where a van or ambulance equipped with medical kits and conservation education materials will be moving in different villages around Kibale National Park based on a programmed schedule to provide free health care, family planning, health education to the communities while at the same time delivering conservation education to the communities.