For centuries, the Batwa lived in forested areas in what is now Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But in 1991, due to conservation projects to protect mountain gorillas, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda was created, and the Batwa were displaced and suffered a sudden change in their way of life.
Nowadays, the Batwa live in a harsh and precarious situation, with limited access to food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare. Their life expectancy is 28. The average Ugandan's is 63.
"When I was in Uganda, the people in charge of the Bwindi Community Hospital brought up the precarious and difficult situation of the Batwa community who lives in the hospital area and their vital need of healthcare. AWF was not indifferent to how (particularly now with COVID-19) this traditional community is threatened."
AWF raised donations and gave the Bwindi Community Hospital a grant to secure salary and transportation for a nurse to serve the Batwa community by explaining COVID-19 hygiene and prevention measures and providing soap. This crucial healthcare aid will last for eight months, directly benefiting this community of 1120 people, men, women, and children.
Bwindi Community Hospital is a nonprofit community hospital under the auspices of the Church of Uganda, in the Diocese of Kinkiizi, that offers preventative and curative services to 120,000 people and specialized services of nationwide benefit.
"Public Health is vital and a human right. Diseases are preventable and treatable with timely access to appropriate and affordable medication, vaccines, and other health services."
We've kept in touch with the Bwindi Community Hospital and shared frequent updates on this project:
Here's a more in depth piece on the work of the BCH. Click here to read.
The BCH also shared with us some of the main hallenges and advances in delivering healthcare to the Batwa. Click here to read an insight on this topic.
In September 2021 we shared some detailed information about the achievements of the Batwa Outreach program, including Monitoring and Responding to Psychosocial Issues, Hand Washing Facilities Coverage and Ongoing Collaboration with Other Batwa Stakeholders. Click here to read it.
And to celebrate one year of the partnership between AWF and the BCH, we shared an in-depth update from Andiisa Davis, the nurse in charge of visits and assistance to the Batwa. Click here to read it.