My name is Henry Garvin. Kisoga is my home village. My primary school was St. Balikuddembe primary school in Kisoga, my secondary education was at St. Balikuddembe SSS. From childhood I used to fall sick a lot. I could study for maybe 2 weeks until I was sick again. We had no health facility in the area not even a qualified nurse in the village.
Thank God that we had Rev Father Benedict Biagioli (RIP), an Italian missionary priest, that my mother used to take me to for medical help. The priest had a tin of paracetamol and a tin of chloroquine in his office. With these drugs he used to treat thousands of villagers in Ntenjeru Sub County, but these simple drugs were not enough to save the lives of many children. Some died at home, due to the ignorance of the mothers who thought it was witchcraft.
I never wanted to drop out of school, and at the age of 10 years I left my parents to stay with white priests (Muzungu) in the hope of getting sponsored. Luckily enough the same priest managed to sponsor my secondary education.
I grew up with a big dream of studying hard, graduating and coming back into my home village to save lives. However, this was not as easy as I thought since I originate from a very poor family of peasant farmers. My sister Jane Francis joined the Mantellate Sisters of Servants of Mary and introduced me to Sister Jude, an Italian nun. She became a good friend of mine and introduced me to Sister Benezia (RIP), who managed to get a sponsor who supported me until I finished a Bachelor’s degree in diagnostic ultrasound. Uganda has only 4 ultrasound specialists.
One day I shared my dream with Sister Benezia of setting up a health facility in the area to serve my community. She was so happy and she told me to write a proposal that she would discuss with her friends in Italy. On 3 February 2013 I finished the proposal and gave it to her. This made her so happy and proud of me she told me that a friend of hers (Ettole Conto) in Italy had promised big help.
Unfortunately on 28 February 2013 at around 6pm Sister Benezia called me to say she had developed chest pain and difficulty in breathing. I checked her and she needed hospital management; but because the area lacks an ambulance and a hospital Sister died at home, just like that. This taught me another lesson. If we had a local health facility maybe I could have saved her life.
I decided to start Herona Clinic. I rented two small rooms to start to help those in need in our community. High rent and limited space is now a major problem at the Clinic, as well as rapidly increasing demands for care. The Clinic is also at threat of demolition due to being to near the new main road.
The building of Herona Hospital is the next stage of the original dream.
The objective of starting Herona Hospital is to provide high quality and affordable medical care by leveraging skills of highly trained Ugandan consultants with access to state of the art equipment and technology, since now people travel long distances to Kampala and Naggalama Hospital to find these services. At Herona Hospital we will bring quality healthcare closer to users who would otherwise have to travel miles for help.
Herona Hospital will cater for communities in Mukono, Uganda and the Lake Victoria region. It will be run by experienced, committed teams of consultants, physicians, nurses and administrators as well as a dedicated team of support staff.
There is an urgent need to finish phase 1 of Herona Hospital and move the project forward. (2018)