Kagando Hospital

The Kagando Mission Hospital Foundation, Inc. (US) is a nonprofit, volunteer organization established to help support the Kagando Hospital and Rural Development Center (KARUDEC) in the Kasese district in southwestern Uganda.
Kagando Mission Hospital Foundation, Inc. is registered with the Secretary of State of Vermont. It has been determined to be exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).

The mission hospitals in East Africa have many problems in common. However, Kagando, through it’s community programs, addresses problem solving in significantly different ways. First, members of the community are intimately involved in all aspects of program development. These include the identification of needs, development of means to address them, formulation of specific objectives to be achieved, establishment of budgetary and personnel requirements, methods of funding, and devising criteria to evaluate the projects’ successes and failures. Being designed with input from citizens and local councils, the projects have a high rate of acceptance and participation.

Second, programs are structured in a holistic manner. For example, malnutrition in children is so common that a section of the pediatric ward is solely devoted to its treatment. (Malnutrition, dysentery, and malaria are the most common causes of death in children under 5 years of age.) Treating the acute and chronic manifestations of malnutrition is not enough. The primary objective at Kagando is to prevent the same children being admitted again and again. To achieve this objective, a nutrition education program has been instituted for mothers and caregivers. Caregivers often outnumber mothers, because many children have been orphaned by AIDS. The program includes hands-on cooking sessions where the women learn how to prepare foods so as to preserve their nutrients. In addition, they learn which crops provide maximum nutrients as well as high yields when grown at home. Demonstration gardens on the hospital grounds facilitate the process. And, when the women and children return home, learning continues through community outreach and follow-up evaluations.

Third, it is significant that men and women in the community participate in hospital and outreach programs as volunteers. This is not only unusual, but very encouraging because Africans, for the most part, are not attuned to the concept of volunteerism. The majority of community health workers are volunteers. Their involvement fosters neighbor-to-neighbor cohesiveness, promotes grassroots communication and learning and results in appreciable cost savings. It should be emphasized that recipients of KARUDEC services are expected to pay money or in-kind as much of the cost of their care as possible. Often, this amounts to nothing or only a few hundred shillings. However, the payments add up and defray significant expenses. Without them, the organization could not survive.

Community input, holistic approach, and volunteer participation have been nurtured by the intuitive and farsighted management team at KARUDEC. Most have acquired their skills on the job and have intimate association with the people they serve. The managers, doctors, nurses, teachers, program directors, staff and students are sustained by their religious faith and commitment. They face what to us in the developed world seem insurmountable problems with meager resources. They combine the innate friendliness of the Ugandan people with persistence and compassion. They rarely speak about problems. Rather, they are constantly seeking the best possible remedies for the endless challenges before them.

Kagando Rural Development Center began in 1965, primarily as a hospital for lepers through the work of the African Inland Mission.

African Inland Mission (AIM) was founded in 1895 by Peter Cameron Scott, a young man whose goal was to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ inland from the coast of Kenya on Africa’s eastern shore all the way to Chad in central Africa. Scott and several of the original seven-member team died shortly after arriving in Africa, and others left because of poor health. After three years only one member remained.

From that seemingly hopeless beginning, AIM has grown to serve the People of Africa through ministries in church development, medicine and agriculture. It now has more than 850 missionaries working in 15 African countries and islands in the Indian Ocean.


Over the years, the hospital’s activities diversified in response to community needs. A community based health care project was established following a severe cholera outbreak in 1978. In 1981, an agricultural extension program began to address increasing malnutrition in the area. The programs continued to expand and in 1986 Kagando Hospital and its outreach activities became Kagando Rural Development Center (KARUDEC).

At present, KARUDEC programs intimately involve the people in its catchment area. The opportunities to help them improve their lives are many and the financial resources are few. However, despite daunting odds, much is being accomplished.


  • Making clean water accessible in the district.
  • AIDS prevention and treatment, including detection in pregnant women, and subsequent treatment to prevent transmission to newborns.
  • Assisting caregivers of AIDS orphans by providing nutritional and hygienic guidance and small stipends for the children’s maintenance and schooling.
  • Malaria prevention including eradication of mosquito breeding areas and the use of sleeping nets treated with insecticide.
  • Training community health workers to treat acute malaria using kits partially funded by local councils.
  • Developing disease prevention awareness and encouraging participation in immunization programs.
  • Teaching illiterate adults, mostly women, to read and write.
  • Improving access to prenatal care, especially for isolated mountain women, and early referral of obstetrical complications by traditional birth attendants to reduce the high maternal and infant mortality rates.
  • Helping destitute widows and caregivers of orphans to establish renumerative enterprises through workshops and small loans. These range from sewing and weaving to growing cash crops, to raising and selling goats, pigs and chickens. Also, local women are managing two small cornmeal mills and producing honey profitably.
  • Assistance in the proper construction and maintenance of latrines