Feature Uganda

Health challenges of war and peace

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1203 (Published 03 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1203
  1. Jacqui Thornton, freelance health journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. jacqui{at}jacquithornton.com

Ten years after the end of the war in Uganda, Lacor Hospital is finally able to concentrate on improving population health, JacquiThornton reports

Lacor Hospital is gleaming. White painted walls are set against the clear blue sky, walkways are spotless with an odour of disinfectant, and the garden beds immaculately spaced with flowering plants.

But this orderly scene hides one of the most tumultuous histories that a hospital has seen. St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor, was caught up in the bloodiest of rebellions from 1986 to 2006 instigated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which aimed to overthrow the government and rule based on the Bible’s 10 commandments. However its leader, Joseph Kony, soon lost support and began abducting children to swell its ranks of fighters.1

At night, the hospital was used as a refuge for staff and local people, who were at risk of being abducted from their homes by the rebels. By day, medical and nursing staff treated victims of torture and beatings alongside rebels injured fighting the Ugandan People’s Defence Force—the government’s army.

In the midst of this, in 2000, the hospital was the centre of a six month outbreak of Ebola virus, which infected 425 people and killed 224, including 12 nurses and …

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