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Uganda Pediatric Surgery Mission: Day One

As the morning sun rose over Mbarara, Uganda, the LWB team made their way to Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital.  A week of healing for so many children was about to begin, and final preparations were needed to ensure this first pediatric surgery mission would be a huge success for the kids.

The Holy Innocents Campus

Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital is located in western Uganda, in a district known as the “land of milk and honey.”  Many tourists to Uganda travel through Mbarara on their way to gorilla treks, but few might realize that Mbarara, known for agriculture and raising long-horned cattle, has now become the fastest-growing region in the country.

Holy Innocents was founded in 2009, as one of the first pediatric hospitals in the country, and in January of 2019, their surgery center was completed. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as many operating rooms around the world have equipment that is made for adults, but Holy Innocents has both supplies and equipment that have been specifically made and sized for the littlest patients.

The hospital has set aside 40 of their 100 beds this week for the mission, as well as three operating room tables. The surgeons will be operating from early morning until night to ensure as many children as possible finally receive the operations they need.

We have been so grateful to everyone who has given to this important mission a reality.  Over 100 child care packs were donated, to make the children’s stay at the hospital as comfortable as possible. Each care pack includes a warm blanket, mosquito net, and of course a fun toy, so the team had a lot of preparation to do in order to get them assembled.

Unlike on our China medical exchanges, where with one click of a button we order supplies through their Amazon equivalent to be delivered to the hospital, in Uganda everything must be sourced and purchased in person. For bulk supplies like the items in our care packs, that meant a trip into Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. That also meant that all the purchased supplies then had to be driven with the team all the way to Mbarara.  The cars were filled to the brim!

As our team worked together to assemble the care packs, the little patients and their families began to arrive as the rain poured down.  Many families had traveled such a long way with the hope their children would be selected for surgery.

Our Ugandan director, Ronald Ssejjuuko, told us that many worried parents could not believe that their children would actually receive the operations needed, as they had already waited years for their pain to finally end.

But there were many smiles and much laughter as well, with mothers exclaiming that their prayers had finally been answered since their children had suffered from painful medical conditions for a very long time. They were so grateful to have this opportunity to find healing.

We can’t wait to bring you news tomorrow about the first operations. Our team in Uganda sent the following message to everyone who made this week possible:

Thank you so much for extending healing to these lovely children. You needed to see their joy after knowing that their child’s surgery was fully funded.

Until tomorrow!

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