Kyengera Women’s Hospital
In 2011, the Sisters identified a critical need in the local community – improved health centers for women in Kyengera. According to the World Health Organization’s 2013 report on micronutrient deficiency in women and children in Uganda, 435 deaths were reported during pregnancy and childbirth for every 100,000 live births in 2010, with malaria and malnutrition being major contributing factors. These alarming maternal mortality rates combined with the increasing need to improve people’s knowledge of healthcare issues inspired the Sisters to focus their efforts to increase awareness for women’s health, maternity care, and health education. In order to facilitate their overall goal of improving access to proper health care, the Sisters decided to lend their support in building a women’s hospital in the Kynegera community.
Since November 2013, CAF America has approved grants totaling $705,100 to support the mission of the Bannabikira (Daughters of Mary) Sisters. To date, the Sisters have used these funds to purchase materials and pay labor costs for the construction of the Kyengera Women’s Hospital, which is expected to be completed late 2015.
While the hospital is the focal point of the program, the grant is having an impact on other social issues as well. In addition to improving the accessibility of medical services, the grant is providing a significant contribution to the Kyengera economy. Materials, equipment, and labor are sourced locally which provides the added benefit of increasing both employment and income within the region. This impact will continue with the opening of the hospital as qualified individuals will have the opportunity to gain employment with newly created jobs, which include professions such as doctors, nurses, administrators, lab technicians, and pharmacists. These career options will also give local students the motivation to continue their studies by providing them with a wider range of attainable goals which they can strive for. This is one of the many examples of how the Kyengera Women’s Hospital will create a lasting impact on a local community, far beyond the provision
Founded in 1910 by Archbishop Henry Streicher and Mother Mechtilde, The Bannabikira (Daughters of Mary) Sisters are a congregation of indigenous African women serving communities in Central Uganda and Kenya. Initially, the congregation was comprised of only “White Sisters” but in 1908 the first postulate of native African women went under training to become members, making the convent the first of its kind south of the Sahara Desert in modern Africa. The convent places a great emphasis on creating socially responsible and sustainable environments that align with their mission by investing in traditional farming and housing for female students and migrant working women. Additionally, as pioneers in the field of education for women, the Bannabikira Sisters have been developing effective educators since 1928. This has resulted in expanded service, awareness, and knowledge in both the education and health fields, particularly in the Kyengera and Masaka communities. One key element to their mission and success is job skills training. In 2010 alone, 117 Bannabikira Sisters obtained advanced degrees and training from educational institutions in East Africa as well as several prominent European countries. Forty-five members received their degrees in the United States, in fields such as nursing, medicine, education, special education, counseling, and social development.