Kuluva Camp April 2024

We hosted a camp at Kuluva, near Arua in Northern Uganda in April. 

Patient numbers were fewer than normal but still many fistula cases to be operated on. Thankfully all the ladies are doing well and recovering uneventfully.

We held a fistula nurse teaching session during this camp, which included the nurses from the nearby hospital in Arua.

A new trainee fistula surgeon joined us for a few days to get some experience and teaching in fistula surgery from Dr Asiimwe. Dr Paul and O&G from Kampala. We hope Dr paul continues to work with us in future camps.

Kitovu and Kyangwali Fistula Camps January 2024

UCIF were back in January running camps at Kitovu Mission Hospital and Kyangwali Refugee settlement in Western Uganda.

Our local colleagues ran these camps on our behalf. Dr Justus Barageine and Dr Alphonsus Matovu ran a very successful camp at Kyangwali.

Dr Ian Asiimwe was joined by Dr Michael Breen and Dr Fiston at Kitovu Hospital in Masaka. 

We are very greatful to our Ugandan colleagues to continue working with the fistula ladies in our absence.


Dr Brian David Hancock OBE

The UCIF team are delighted to announce our founding charity member, past chairman and current trustee has been awarded an OBE in the Kings New Year Honours list 2024. Dr Brian Hancock has been awarded an OBE for his services to surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are immensely proud of Brian for his unwavering dedication to women who have suffered childbirth injuries. From his skill as a surgeon, to teaching and writing surgical textbooks and sharing his huge depth of knowledge.

St Anthonys Hospital, Tororo
November 2023

UCIF funded the camp at Tororo with our Ugandan colleagues running the camp. Dr Barageine, Dr Fiston and Dr Medeyi operating on the many patients who attended. In addition to our fistula nurse at Tororo Betty Abuin, we sent 2 fistula nurses from Kamuli and Jinja to assist the teram, which worked really well. All patients are recovering and doing well.

October 2023 Kamuli and Kagadi

 The team were back to Kamuli Mission Hospital in October for back to back camps with Kagadi hospital in Western Uganda. Over 40 patients were operated on at Kamuli with many complex abdominal operations. We were joined by Dr Abdi a visiting fistula surgeon from Somalia, 2 urology fellows, a figo fellow and 7 obstetric and gynaecology observers. This was a large teaching camp with an additional 7 fistula nurse trainees. Although we had a high level of trainees, the feedback was that they all gained a lot of experience from the camp. There was a variety of different cases to learn from.

Kagadi was also very busy with a different group of obs and gynae trainees and a fistula trainee. The trainee nurses from Kagadi who attended the Kamuli camp were then able to run the ward in their own hospital and teach their colleagues. The improvement in the nursing care was impressive.





May/June 2023
Kamuli and Kagadi

Two back to back camps were held in May/June in Kagadi and Kamuli. Dr Reimers from Norway attended the Kagadi camp with Dr Asiimwe and Dr Fiston. 29 cases were operated on mainly VVF or stress post VVF repair.

Ishbel Campbell attended to oversee the nurse training and help run the ward.

Mhairi Collie attended the Kamuli camp with Dr Asiimwe. 2 senior fistula trainees and 2 junior surgical trainees wewre in attendance. There were many complex abdominal cases at this camp among the 39 cases operated on. Nevertheless, the outcomes were excellent with no major complications.

The nursing team provided ongoing fistula nurse training for nurses from other centres at this camp which kept them all very busy but all gained a lot of knowledge and experience to take back to their own hospitals.

Kamuli Fistula Nurse Team winners of the 'Nursing Now' Category of the Burdett Nursing Trust Awards

Ishbel Campbell was presented with the 'Nursing now' award from Dame Christine Beasley on behalf of the Kamuli Fistula Nurse team at the awards ceremony in the Waldorf Hotel, London on 12th May 2023.

This was in recognition of the competency based fistula nurse training program we have developed in Uganda and have started using to train fistula nurses.

The team invloved with the Ugandan nurse trainers, Joan, Joanita and Morris were presented with the award in Kamuli in May.

The grant attached to this award will allow us to expand our nurse trainimg program and deliver it in other fistula affected countries.

Kuluva Camp March 2023

A busy camp was held in Kuluva in the far North West of Uganda near Arua town. 112 women were screened of which 44 underwent surgery. Many of these cases were difficult and women had travelled from South Sudan and The Congo to attend the camp. There were also women from the nearby refugee camps.

2 senior surgical trainees attended this camp for training in fistula and female urogynae surgery. Both gained invaluable skills during the week

In addition we held the nurse training program on the ward with Morris one of our newest fistula nurse trainers running the teaching with Ishbel Campbell mentoring him. This was also a great success with a big improvement showing in the nursing care.



Kitovu January 2023

UCIF sponsored 30 cases at the January camp in Kitovu. This camp was attended by Dr Asiimwe and Dr Michael Breen a fistula surgeon from Madagascar. A visiting surgeon from the USA joined them and provided training on proplapse. It was noted that there were fewer fistula cases attending the Kitovu camp, which seems to be a general tend in Uganda with cases falling as maternal health improves. This is certainly a positive sign. 

Final Camp of 2022 Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

Dr Ian Asiimwe ran a very busy camp in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, with way more patients turning up than he expected. He managed to operate on all women who attended with the help of our fistula trained nurses Linda, Joanita and Shakilla.

Awards 2022

We are delighted to share this photo of Dr Mhairi Collie being presented with her OBE award by Princess Anne this year. Also great news, Ishbel Campbell was a finalist in the Scottish Healthcare Awards 2022 for her ongoing work in fistula nurse teaching. 

St Anthony's Hospital Tororo, Oct 2022

UCIF ran a camp in Tororo in Eastern Uganda. This was a new fistula site for us which we hope to return to on an annual basis. Although we had fewer fistula cases than normal, several of them had had a fistula for over 40 years. Dr Vincent Medeyi hosted us at Tororo and attended for further training in fistula surgery with Mhairi and Dr Cathrine Reimers from Norway. It was a very busy but successful week with no free time left to climb Tororo Rock (in the background of the photo). Maybe next year....

Dr Vincent's report on his experiences of fistula surgery is also found on our reflections page.


October 2022 Kamuli Camp

A 3rd camp in 2022 in Kamuli was held in October. Yet another busy camp. Mhairi, Kate and Ian managing the cases at this camp with Tinka and Martha trainee fistula surgeons in attendance for more training. This camp saw us carrying out difficult urinary diversion surgery for 3 poor women who had lost most of their bladders and were difficult to cure. Thankfully all went well and as you can see by the photo here they all want home happy and dry with big smiles on their faces.

Ishbel ran another fistula nurse training week on the ward with fistula nurses in attendance from other hospitals. Joan and Joanita instrumental in the nurse training. The trainees all did very well and we are hoping they take their new skills back to their respective hospitals.

Dr Tinka and Dr Martha penned their reflections on their experience of fistula surgery which are available to read on our reflections section. 


Kamuli Camp June 2022

June saw a return to Kamuli for Dr Mhairi Collie who had a busy week operating with Dr Ian Asiimwe. It was a week with many very sad and difficult cases. In addition Dr Anna Tinka and Dr Martha attended for further training in fistula surgery. Both enjoyed their time at Kamuli and gained a lot of experience from their teachers and mentors. Midwife Christine Wood attended camp, her first visit back since the start of the pandemic and had a thoroughly enjoyable but busy week in the ward with the 2 Joans fistula nurse trainers and our newly trained fistula nurses. Christine was very impressed by the continued standard of nursing care on the ward.

Nurse Ishbel Campbell attended the fistula camp 2 weeks after it started to help with the discharge process of the fistula patients. A new method was trialled to discharge patients home safely and the plan is to roll out the process to other fistula sites in Uganda.


Kagadi, Kyenjojo & Kuluva Camps

UCIF funded fistula camps in Kagadi and Kyenjojo in Western Uganda in February/March, which were run solely by Ugandan surgeons and nurses. These were successful camps but also had additional problems of getting patients to attend due to schools returning and the planting season for many of these women.


Another camp run by local surgeons was held in Kuluva Hospital in May, just south of Area in the West Nile region in Northern Uganda. This was the hospitals first fistula camp and was a big success. Several of the local doctors and nurses are going to attend for further training in fistula surgery and nursing care as they hope to host more camps in their hospital.


 Kamuli February 2022

The February camp in Kamuli was a mixture of highs and lows. Unfortunately there were few ladies who turned up for the camp, due to a combination of schools reopening.  Children returning to school after 2 years of absence due to covid and the planting season for crops for sustenance. However, those who were operated on went home dry and happy. The first 4 nurses on the UCIF fistula nurse training programme graduated and were awarded certificates and T shirts. The standard of nursing care at the fistula camps at Kamuli hospital is excellent with the women being well looked after.


Kyangwali Refugee Camp 2022

A short camp was held at Kyangwali refugee camp to complete the UCIF fistula nurse training programme. It was great to see the semi permanent tent donated to hospital in Kyangwali which has greatly increased bed space for maternal health in addition for use by surgical camps.

Kitovu January 2022

A very successful camp was funded by UCIF for 2 weeks in January. Dr Ian Asiimwe and Dr Cathrine Reimers from Norway lead the team who operated on 60 patients in total. There were several very difficult cases at this camp who had been operated on many times. 1 lady had had 7 operations over a span of 20 years and had almost given up hope. I am delighted to report she has gone home dry after this visit.

Ishbel Campbell attended the camp on behalf of UCIF and the nursing staff and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 weeks spent with Mother Winnie, Sister Pauline and their excellent team of nurses.

Kamuli,Kagadi and Kyangwali Camps October 2021

October saw a return to fistula surgery for Mhairi. She was joined by Ishbel and Isbeal Uttley a volunteer and together with Dr Ian Asiimwe and fellow Ugandan colleagues managed to operate at 3 different camps.

Kamuli was very busy but ran smoothly with the help of our 2 fistula nurse trainers- the 2 Joans.

Kagadi in the West posed slightly more challenges but was a successful camp. UCIF donated a new theatre operating table to allow the hospital to continue with Caesarean section operations while the camp went on.

Finally the last camp was in Kyangwali refugee settlement, which is a small hospital that serves 120,000 refugees, mainly from the Congo and Sudan.

Nursing Care for Women with Childbirth Injuries textbook published jointly by UCIF and FIGO

UCIF are delighted to have produced a text book for nurses on nursing care for women with fistula and perineal tear. The book was written by Ishbel Campbell, senior nurse with UCIF and co authored by Dr Ian Shane Asiimwe, senior Ugandan fistula surgeon. With FIGO's help it has been widely distributed for use in many countries affected by fistula.

June 2021 Kamuli Fistula Camp postponed due to Covid

Sadly our June fistula camp at Kamuli had to be cancelled at short notice due to a sharp rise in Covid cases in Uganda. The women had all been mobilised and were waiting for the camp to start. The strict government lockdown made it impossible to run the camp safely.

Mhairi Collie OBE June 2021

UCIF are delighted to share the news our chairman Mhairi Collie has been awarded an OBE in recognition for her charity work with UCIF and women with childbirth injuries


Dr Moses Baliraine 28/8/1979- 03/02/2021

With heavy hearts we are sad to announce the loss of our dear friend, colleague and trainee fistula surgeon Dr Moses Baliraine, who sadly passed away after a short illness in February. He is a huge loss to Kamuli Mission Hospital, the world of fistula surgery and his dear family and friends.

 Kitovu January 2021 and Kamuli March 2021

Sadly due to the ongoing travel restrictions due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic the UCIF team were unable to travel to Uganda.

However, our Ugandan colleagues very ably continued running the fistula camps on our behalf in both Kitovu and Kamuli Mission Hospitals. Our lead surgeon Dr Ian Asiimwe lead teams in both hospitals and operated on over 80 women in total, whilst also continuing the programme of surgical teaching for the Ugandan surgical fistula trainees.

In addition 2 trainee nurses attended Kamuli from Hoima regional Referral Hospital to gain hands on training of fistula nursing.

Our partners Uganda Village Project also joined us again at Kamuli Mission Hospital and assisted with funding for patient's food and transport.

Mhairi Collie

Chairman of UCIF

Proud winner of the Global Citizenship award at the Scottish Healthcare Awards 2020 (See video in gallery section)

2020 Year end message from UCIF

Despite the challenges due to the Coronavirus pandemic UCIF have had a successful year. Collaborative working with our Ugandan colleagues has allowed us to continue our activities in a safe and effective manner. A total of £58,611.00 was spent on giving 225 women another chance to rebuild their lives after the devastating effects of urinary or faecal incontinence.

Kamuli, Mubende and Hoima Camps October/November 2020

Sadly due to the coronavirus pandemic the UCIF team were unable to travel to Uganda in October/November to run the fistula camps. However, the camps went ahead and run by our very able Ugandan colleagues. Dr Ian Asiimwe and Dr Alphonsus Matovu leading the teams in Kamuli, Mubende and Hoima. Assisted by Dr Justus Barageine and Dr Susan Obore. Several trainee surgeons and nurses attended these camps getting invaluable hands on training and teaching.






Kamuli Camp March 2020

Training camp for Ugandan surgeons

The March camp in Kamuli hospital has been a very busy week with 53 cases operated on in total. The focus of this camp was to train junior Ugandan doctors in basic surgical skills as well as an introduction to fistula surgery. The young doctors were all very keen to learn  and join us in theatre every day. The ward staff were kept busy with a constant through put of patients but coped admirably with a high standard of nursing care carried out.

January 2020 2 week camp at Kitovu Mission Hospital

UCIF sponsored the January fistula camp at Kitovu Hospital. This is a large training camp attended by an international team of surgeons and nurses. Dr Michael Breen who currently lives and works in Madagascar led the team of Ugandan, UK, Norwegian and USA surgeons who performed a total of 97 operations over the 2 week period. The ward was well run and managed by Sister Winnie and nurse Pauline, the Ugandan stalwarts of the fistula ward, joined by nurse Annet from Kamuli, Ishbel from UCIF and several of the Kitovu nurses. It was a very busy but successful camp.

Sister Winnie and Nurse Pauline


September 2019

UCIF have just returned from 2 successful weeks of camps in Mubende and Kamuli.  Mhairi Collie, Cathrine Reimers and Ishbel Campbell joined Alphons Matovu and Ian Asiimwe in Mubende.   Two young Ugandan surgical trainees also attended the camp as well as a medical officer, Dr Gregory from Kagadi.   Dr Matovu and Dr Asiimwe are keen to enthuse and encourage more Ugandan surgeons to take up the mantle of fistula surgery, so a great effort was made in this camp to start to teach these young doctors on the rudiments of fistula and perineal injury surgery.  It is hoped that future camps could include some Ugandan trainees, paid a suitable stipend to attend.

There were many patients all waiting with 12-15 scheduled for surgery daily.  This proved a major challenge for Ishbel and the ward staff, in that the ward was completely full at all times with a steady progression of postoperative cases to be accommodated.  Miracles were wrought to provide safe post operative care, with fistula patients in beds, but many other patients treated on mattresses on the floor.

41 cases were undertaken in Mubende including 19 fistulae and 22 anal/ perineal repairs.

In Kamuli, Christine Wood and Kate Darlow started the camp with a monster triage effort and a day of 4th degree tear surgery.  Mhairi and Ishbel arrived then for 4 days of intense work, keeping theatre staff and Ellen, the excellent nurse anaesthetist, busy into the evenings.  Ian Asiimwe joined the team for 3 days and Dr Boni from Kamuli was most attentive throughout the camps, beginning to undertake some surgery himself.  A total of 43 cases were undertaken in Kamuli, the postoperative care being left to the very capable Ugandan nurses and doctors.

Kamuli Camp February 2019

The surgical team were back in Kamuli for a week at the end of February. 85 patients in total were screened and 42 ladies operated on during the week. It was a very successful camp with many happy ladies returning home dry. A few will return to the camp in September for further surgery, and will hopefully be cured then. The camp was supported by the local Ugandan doctors who were very enthusiastic and assisted with many of the operations. Dr Emma, Dr Lukeman and Dr Assisa. The ward was very well run by our Ugandan nurse colleagues ward sister Rose, Joan, Annet, Johanta and their colleagues. Christine and Ishbel were on hand to assist in the ward. The surgical operations were shared between the UCIF surgeons, Dr Collie, Dr Honest, Dr Reimers and Dr Maeda, with Dr Burnett and his Ugandan colleague Ellen doing all the anaesthetics. Long hours were worked during the camp by all staff to enurse all patients were operated on. These photos show the patients sewing and knitting while they recover with their catheters which are in for 2 weeks. They also love getting their nails painted and being pampered.

Kitovu January 2019

Drs Mhairi Collie, Kristie Greene and Kate Darlow joined Dr Michael Breen and the very experienced team at Kitovu hospital in january for an excellent camp, encompassing many complex cases.  It was particularly satisfying to work with our Ugandan colleagues - Dr Florence, Dr Lucien, Dr Asiimwe and Dr Moses.  We look forward to many more instructive and collaborative camps sharing our different medical and surgical experience and expertise. 

70 patients were treated in the camp, many with complex difficult fistula. 

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