Staff from a local NHS trust are supporting the development of mental health services in Uganda.
Dr Maureen Wilkinson and Dr Andy Cotgrove, from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), visited Kisiizi hospital in south western Uganda to help the development of mental health services within the only mental health inpatient facility serving the large rural area. The service currently treats 4,000 people a year.
CWP’s link with Kisiizi began in 2010 when a group led by Avril Devaney, director of nursing and therapies, seized the opportunity for the two organisations to share knowledge and specialist skills.
Dr Wilkinson said: “I’ve come away feeling inspired from this recent trip. Being here has allowed us to have really insightful conversations with Sister Nancy and the team to make things a reality. We have secured dedicated clinic space, meaning people no longer have to sit out in the baking heat for their consultations.
“I felt I understood more of how complex their problems are and how well the team try to understand their stories and the challenges they face. Together we are working to tackle the stigma and clinical challenges around mental health, particularly alcohol and HIV-related conditions, which are prevalent in the area.”
Dr Cotgrove said: “As this was my first time at Kisiizi, I was delighted to see how the hard work CWP started five years ago has come to life. This visit has seen some concrete developments which will improve the care the patients receive.”
Joining Dr Wilkinson on her trip was her husband Ewan, who completed a charity bike. Together with two Ugandan friends, the team travelled 415 miles and have so far raised £3000.
Later this year CWP will continue to share their specialist skills with Kisiizi with another trip planned for October.
If you would like to support their efforts and contribute to CWP’s charity, please visit www.cwp.nhs.uk/get-involved/charity .