Annual Report 2012

Another busy year for the charity in 2011/12 building on the work of the previous year. The decision to fund volunteers on the ground in Kampala was successful in developing a better understanding of local needs and infrastructure, and building links with relevant local organisations. This was a more lengthy process than expected, but we are now (October 2012) actually funding a volunteer program to support cancer patients as a step towards the main goal of a support centre for the patients and their carers.

Key achievements include:

  • Annie Young, Professor of Nursing at Warwick University, led a specialist team to Kampala to provide a short intensive training course for nurses working with cancer patients. This was done in conjunction with AfrOx and Uganda Cancer Institute and was kindly sponsored by Dr Jackson Orem, Director of the Institute. There are no specialist oncology nurses in Uganda, and the training was enthusiastically received by more than 50 attendees, some travelling from surrounding countries (Tanzania, DRC) to take part.
  • Katja Kurbus volunteered to spend 6 months in Kampala last winter working with local organisations and charitable groups, developing relationships for establishing the support centre and our plans for providing information for cancer patients and their carers.
  • We had hopes of using a converted container parked on the Uganda Cancer Institute site as the initial location for the centre but this proved difficult to achieve in the timescale.
  • The experience encouraged us to look for alternative ways to kickstart the project and we entered into an agreement with Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) to fund an extension to their existing volunteer program. They are mostly supporting cancer patients, and they have the same vision to improve information availability.
  • An additional 10 volunteers have already been recruited and trained by them and are now extending the coverage of support provided across Mulago hospital, the Uganda Cancer Institute and the Radiotherapy hostel.
  • Liz Minton, from the Oxford Maggie’s Centre, has been extremely supportive of the project and has visited Kampala twice, on the latest visit providing more specialist training from her experience in the UK. She is keen to continue the links and help to extend the skills and knowledge of the volunteers in Kampala.
  • Katja worked with a dedicated group in Kampala developing a basic set of information leaflets on different aspects of cancer, its prevention and treatment. These drafts have been made available to MPCU who will develop them further as the basis of their information centre.
  • Fundraising efforts this year include a sponsored bike ride by Alex Hannah through a gruelling section of mid Wales – many thanks to Alex for his support!

A big thank you again to all those who have supported us through the year here in the UK and also to the kind hospitality and welcome given by friends and colleagues in Uganda to all who visited Kampala on behalf of UCTUK.