Sts. Peter & Paul teams up with Catholic Health Initiatives for Uganda

By Page H. Gifford

It has been over ten years since Robert Maher and other volunteers from Sts. Peter and Paul Church began their missionary work in Uganda, Africa. These missions help villagers in rural Africa by providing them with medical facilities and equipment. With the help of  the Rev. David Martin Ssentamu, they have now merged with Catholic Health Initiatives for Uganda based in Boston, Massachusetts.

 Maher and Father David, the pastor at Sts. Peter and Pauls, feel that by coming together they pool their resources and can do more to help the villagers get what they need to help others. Catholic Health Initiative for Uganda (CHIU) is ensuring improved and maintained health care through rural Catholic Health Centers and hospitals in Uganda. Missionary volunteers have helped install solar energy systems, provide medical support, clean water infrastructure, and empowerment through education.

In January of this year, seven parishioners, including Maher and Father David, traveled to Uganda to help with establishing the next tier in medical care.

“There are three tiers, first they become a clinic then a health center and then they can work toward becoming a hospital,” said Maher. “Most doctors work at clinics or health care facilities to get experience but then move on to hospitals.” There are many challenges to giving good health care and keeping healthcare workers. 

In past years the missionaries have built a clinic and furnished it and now have upgraded it to a medical facility. They have helped build infrastructure, including wells for clean water and connections for electricity and solar energy.

“They used to deliver babies by using flashlights. Now they have electricity and solar for backup,” said Maher. “It’s a different world, you need to see it, it’s an eye-opener.” Outside the tourist areas and safaris to view exotic animals, few will see what Maher and others have seen on their visits. Both Father Gerald Musuubire in the past and currently, Father David, both from Uganda, have spoken about the lack of governance that would benefit the people and help to sustain them economically.

By merging with CHIU, they support three healthcare centers. Maher is grateful to UVA for their donations of used medical equipment which Fr. David helped send overseas. Fr. David explained that they collect donated items and ship them once a year.

“Everything we have shipped has made it there,” said Fr. David.

“Right now one of them needs a CBC machine and a centrifuge. Once equipment breaks down there is no way to fix or replace it,” said Maher. “Providing healthcare and well-maintained facilities helps to promote healthcare in rural areas. Right now many children do not make it to their fifth birthday. People either got better or die.”

During their last trip, one of the three medical clinics had $5,000 for medical equipment and supplies and offered a free clinic. Over 1,000 people came for help over four days. The most common complaints were  hypertension and heart disease, PUD, respiratory disorders, and malaria.

After four days the clinic returned to normal operations of paying what you can or barter and trade if needed. What would seem archaic in the modern world is the norm for people living in rural Uganda. Maher and Father David cited many ways people can help, through volunteering at Sts. Peter and Paul and through donations. They encourage anyone interested to visit the following:,, and to donate locally

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