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UCD Volunteers Overseas

Health Projects in Uganda

In 2013, UCDVO developed a partnership with the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and Kisiizi Hospital in Southwest Uganda to offer a unique volunteering elective placement to stage three physiotherapy students. In June 2013, a team of five volunteers, including two chartered physiotherapists spent five weeks volunteering at Kisiizi Hospital to provide support to an existing rehabilitation unit.

Kisiizi Hosipital is located rurally in the Rukungiri district of South Western Uganda, one of the nine priority countries of Irish Aid. Since 2010, five UCD physiotherapy students have successfully undertaken their elective clinical placement in Kisiizi Hospital, resulting in a very strong link between UCD and Kisiizi Hospital.

Since its establishment in 2003, UCDVO has had a close relationship with UCD physiotherapy students, with more than 50 physiotherapy students undertaking UCDVO projects over the past 11 years. Concurrent to this, many physiotherapy students organise elective placements independently in developing countries as part of their undergraduate degree.



In 2015 we will also be working in partnership with Nuture Africa on a healthcare project in Nansana, Uganda. Nurture Africa has been working in Uganda since 2003 in a semi-urban town called Nansana, (population approx. 79,000) located six - seven miles northwest of Kampala (the capital city). UCDVO and Nurture Africa will be engaged in a health centre project providing access to Healthcare, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Child Welfare for vulnerable families within the area of operation in Nansana.



Read about Stuart Garrett's experience volunteering as a physiotherapist in Kisiizi Hospital, Uganda. Stuart volunteered on UCDVO's Haiti 2008, Nicaragua 2009, and Delhi 2011 projects.

ISCP Newsletter March 2012

ISCP Newsletter September 2012

Uganda Country Profile
Uganda is a landlocked country in east Africa, roughly three times the size of Ireland. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts; including the period when the dictator Idi Amin seized control of the country.

Amin ruled Uganda with the military for eight years and carried out mass killings within the country to maintain his rule. An estimated 300,000 Ugandans lost their lives at the hands of his regime.

Most people in Uganda live in rural areas and make their living from agriculture. Although Uganda has had consistently high economic growth rates and a strong record in the response to HIV and AIDS, it has struggled to ensure that all its citizens benefit equally. Kisiizi Hospital is located rurally in the Rukungiri district of South Western Uganda.

Currency: UGX Ugandan Shilling

Capital: Kampala

Climate: Tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August) Average Temperature: June/July 20 Celsius.

Head of State: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Population: 35.6 million

Security: Visitors to South Western Uganda should be aware of the historical conflict in the districts of North and South Kivu in the DRC, and the close proximity of fighting to the Ugandan border. The most recent conflict occurred in November 2012.

Time: GMT+3

Language: Official language English. Multiple other languages are also spoken including Swahili. Nkore is a Bantu language spoken in South Western Uganda.

Human Rights: Same sex relationships have been criminalised in Uganda and the controversial Anti- Homosexuality Bill proposes to introduce the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Accommodation: Guest house accommodation, Kisiizi Hospital. Power cuts are a possibility.

Health: Be mentally and physically prepared before you go, consider taking Acidophilus (probiotics) and a good quality multi-vitamin in advance.

Religion: Uganda is a predominantly Christian country with a Muslim minority (about 12%).

Ethnic groups: Over 40 ethnic groups live in Uganda belonging to certain regions of the country. The Baganda form the largest group, comprising almost 17% of the population and live in the south. Other ethnic groups are Ankole (8%), Iteso (8%), Basoga (8%), Bakiga (7%), Banyarwanda (6%), Langi (6%), Bagisu (5%), Acholi (4%), Lugbara (4%).

Dress: Modesty in dress applies equally to men and women. Many women will wear a traditional dress called Busuuti.

Food: Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles with English, Arab, Asian and especially Indian influences.

 5 Things You Should Know

  1. 38% of the population are living on less than $1.25 a day.
  2. Life expectancy is 54.5 years.
  3. 7% of adults are living with HIV.
  4. There are only 10 doctors per 100,000 people.
  5. A woman in Uganda has a 1/25 chance of dying during childbirth.


UCDVO Key Project Achievments 2013 - 2017

  • Children in Nansana were assessed for supportive equipment needs
  • Children's guardians received education on disability and rehabilitation and nutrition
  • Home visits carried out & school workshops delivered
  • Children in Kisiizi were screened for undernourishment
  • Physiotherapy support for a rehabilitation department in Kisiizi Hospital
  • Construction of an outdoor play area at Kisiizi Hospital
  • Financial support for paediatric patients at the rehab department
  • Renovation of a rural house to meet the resident’s physiotherapy needs 
  • Training for hospital staff in burns treatment and management 
  • Funding of prosthetic limbs for four patients


Key Partners

  • Kisiizi Hospital in South Western Uganda
  • Nurture Africa