Dr Towey has volunteered at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Gulu, Uganda since 2002 (part time since 2008). He had previously been in Tanzania for 8 years.
St Mary’s is a not for profit, church supported, general hospital of 476 beds in northern Uganda. For many years it has had a small four-bed Intensive Care Unit near the operating theatre, which was upgraded to an eight-bed unit in 2005. It is a teaching hospital for anaesthetists, medical students, nurses and laboratory technicians and it is attached to Gulu University Medical School. The majority of the patients are the rural poor and can come from remote areas up to 100 miles away from Gulu.
Since 2002 Dr Towey has been involved in the training of anaesthetic officers, nurses, and medical students. He is now a part time volunteer and is focusing on the development of the intensive care ward. As the reputation of the Intensive Care Unit in St.Mary’s Hospital Lacor has spread in Uganda Dr.Towey advises other hospitals in the area of how best to develop their own units to build capacity and improve surgical care for the most vulnerable patients.
How African Mission can support St Mary’s Hospital and surrounding hospitals in northern Uganda in 2024
Dr Towey writes:
Thank God the Covid pandemic is over. The work in the ICU continues with as always its high demands and as I write in January 2024 the routine work of the ICU remains the postoperative stabilisation of surgical patients, the care of snakebite patients, and the management of head injured patients. I anticipate that we will need funds to upgrade at least one very good ICU nurse who has shown a particular skill. Very often the critically ill patients do not respond well to our first line antibiotic drugs and the second line more effective antibiotics can be too expensive to our very poor patients. With donations we can offer a course of second line antibiotics which may be lifesaving. In 2024 we will continue to support the ICU with good quality tracheostomy tubes with inner cannula to facilitate safe nursing care. Education as always is an ongoing need and we plan to print or buy several books to maintain the ICU and the Anaesthetic School as places for good ongoing education for all the staff and students.
The cost of the transportation of central intravenous neck lines will also be an important item which must continue. One of the outcomes of the Covid pandemic is that many hospitals in northern Uganda have realised the vital importance of oxygen therapy and high dependency wards and intensive care wards. The reputation of St.Mary’s Hospital Lacor has spread nationally and we hope to be able to give advice and on some occasions practical support to acquire essential equipment for these remote hospitals. We thank all our donors that enable the staff to be effective health care professionals and show that hospitals in this post conflict remote region of sub-Saharan Africa are a sign of compassion and hope.