THE FRIENDS OF BUTABIKA CHILDREN’S WARD
In June 2013 the Friends of Butabika Children’s Ward project was set up by Luna in response to concerns raised about the care and treatment of child patients at Butabika National Referral Hospital, Kampala. Butabika is the national training centre for mental health professionals in Uganda, and the main training site of Luna’s former training partner, East London NHS Foundation Trust. You can download and read the full story of Luna’s contribution via this partnership, in the form of a thank you letter we received from the East London NHS Foundation Trust, here.
The Friends of Butabika Children’s Ward was established as a children’s rights project, due to one of our charitable objects being: ‘the advancement of education of the public in children and young people’s rights in part, but not exclusively, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’. It aims to support the ongoing efforts of Ugandan professionals to promote changes in cultural attitudes and to promote and enable high quality care and treatment in the context of severe material limitations and very low staffing levels.
The objectives of the Friends are:
a) To find ways to improve, promote and monitor observance of the rights of children who are patients on the children’s ward of Butabika Hospital
b) To improve the relationships and living conditions of children who are patients on the children’s ward of Butabika Hospital
c) To raise and provide funds which will further the achievement of a) and b)
How it works
The Friends Project has relied, to date, on the contributions of individual donors and fundraising initiatives by groups such as schools. All of the funds raised for the Friends are dedicated solely to the achieving the above objectives.
Primarily, these donations are channelled through Butabika’s local church, St Luke’s, which works closely with ward staff and provides volunteers to supplement staffing levels, as well as ‘extras’ such as milk, eggs, and some materials to improve the quality of life for the children. Specifically, these funds have, to date, contributed towards the development of a classroom for the children, bought interactive learning and play materials, provided materials for a sensory room, and paid for a special Christmas meal and party the last four years.
Crucially, over the past year (2016) the Friends have funded a trained volunteer to work on the ward for 2-3 days per week, and provide activities which stimulate and entertain them. This gives them the much needed care and attention that current staffing levels do not allow, but is so critical to their development and well-being. At present, a total of 20 people have committed themselves to becoming ‘Friends’ of Butabika Children’s Ward, and we are ever seeking to expand this number.
We have visited twice in 2016, and hope to go again in 2017 to ensure that resettlement initiatives begin in 2016 are maintained and improvements to the ward observed during course of 2016 are maintained. We know how much our moral support is appreciated by those who care for the children of Butabika.