Geoffrey Kent Helps Bwindi Community Hospital Win Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy 2021

MONACO | On Monday, June 7, 2021, Uganda’s Bwindi Community Hospital was granted the Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. Dr Mutahunga Birungi (third from left), Executive Director of the Bwindi Community Hospital, was present at the occasion to accept this special honor. Each year, the Prince’s Round Table for Philanthropy brings together major international philanthropists, alongside HSH the Sovereign Prince, to discuss the role of philanthropy in the face of the major challenges the world currently faces. The theme of this year’s discussion was “Planetary Health.”

This prize, created from a joint initiative of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Tocqueville Foundation, rewards and supports innovative projects that encourage philanthropy in the service of sustainable societal innovation. Nominated for the award by Geoffrey Kent, Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) was recognized for the exceptional work carried out to provide access to healthcare for the communities in need surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

BCH was founded in 2003 to help the Batwa indigenous community who used to live in the Bwindi Forest before it was registered as a sanctuary for mountains gorillas. Through the support of A&K Philanthropy and the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, what began as a clinic under a tree has grown to a 112-bed facility providing health care for 24,000 patients annually.

The dedicated staff at BCH sends outreach teams to surrounding villages to ensure all people have access to health care and health education, while the Uganda Nursing School Bwindi invests in local students who will be the region’s future health care workers. This ensures that the people served by the hospital and surrounding villages have access to certified nursing school graduates who are from the region, speak the local language and understand local customs. BCH also offers a Waiting Mothers Hostel for Batwa women with high-risk pregnancies to ensure they are cared for by a qualified midwife for their labor. While at the hostel, expectant mothers have the opportunity to learn new skills in the months leading up to their delivery.

BCH aspires to become a regional center of excellence providing tertiary healthcare, training high-level professionals, and playing a leading role in the field of healthcare research and innovation. We offer our congratulations to Dr Birungi and all of Bwindi Community Hospital for this amazing achievement. Thank you to everyone in the Bwindi community for the exceptional work that you do providing healthcare to those who need it most.

“I feel extremely humbled that, from an open-air clinic for Batwa indigenous people eighteen years ago, Bwindi Community Hospital has grown to make reasonable contribution to improve access to healthcare and health training especially for those who need it most. Our achievement has been a collective effort of the community, staff and many other people acting as individuals or as organizations from different walks of life. [By] acting together, we make the world a better living place for ourselves today and for those coming after us.” – Dr Mutahunga Birungi, Executive Director, Bwindi Community Hospital