Who are we?
The Friends of Mengo Hospital committee has 7 members with very different skills but covering a lot of the needs at Mengo hospital.
We have 2 doctors and a surgeon who have been invaluable in helping to choose, in cooperation with the doctors at Mengo, the equipment for refitting the operating theatres.
An electrical engineer with vast experience of installing electrical installations in the UK and small hydroelectric plants at hospitals in Africa. A teacher who is also our treasurer and a chartered surveyor. Peace Masiko (not pictured) is a teacher and has recently joined the committee.
We also have the experience of non- executive members: Our Vice-President Andrew Billington was born at Mengo and has extensive experience in running charitable organisations. Our President Hugh Oliver lived at Mengo and was the medical director for 16 years.
Read more about the committee members below :
Dr John Dalton – Chairperson
I am currently an Obstetrics and Gynaecology trainee in West Yorkshire, based in Leeds.
I first visited Mengo in 2005 using a travel grant from Peterhouse, Cambridge it was at that time I first developed an interest in obstetrics. Altogether I have spent four months at the hospital and even with my short involvement with the hospital, I can see significant improvements being made.
Miss Emily Cook
I have been on the committee of FOM-UK since 2009 and have always had a special interest in Mengo as my grandfather was Jack Cook, brother of Sir Albert Cook the founder of Mengo Hospital. He was also a missionary doctor and worked alongside Albert for 20 years.
I have followed the family tradition of medicine and am currently approaching the end of my training in general surgery. I have visited Mengo myself three times and am particularly excited by the recent refurbishment of the operating theatres which will make such a difference to the hospital.
I first visited Mengo in 1970 when I was a student, hosted by John Whitlock who was at Mengo then, and until recently on the committee. John then took me to Kisiizi, and I continued with Ruanda Mission into Rwanda and Burundi. I think John knew that the X-ray machine had arrived at Buye Hospital, and I was able to install it, thanks to having spent a day with Philips Medical before I set off, at John's suggestion.
My job is as a high voltage electrical distribution engineer with Scottish and Southern Energy, although I have formally retired and now work part time, and only when I'm not in Africa! The electrical network at Mengo is in a dreadful state, but I try to advise on priorities for overcoming the many problems, and how to supply the new equipment adequately.
Being non-medical it is hard for me to assess the work being done by Mengo, but the place always seems busy, so they must be doing a good job!
I visited in July 2012, but for less than a day, while a team from my church were helping at an orphanage near Mukono. I like to visit whenever I am in Kampala, which is more often since I retired, but usually once a year. I was staying at Mengo when a bomb killed about 70 people watching the Football World Cup at the Rugby Club in Kampala, but Mengo is so insulated that people in UK knew about it before I did, and Mengo was unaffected.
Dr Sheck Matsiko
I worked as a medical officer at Mengo from 1980 to 1982 and was appointed a consultant Physician at the hospital in 1993, though I never took up the post.
I am married to Peace and have 3 grown up children and now live in Lincolnshire where I am a consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist at Grantham & District Hospital.
Particular Interest in modernisation of medical services at Mengo and postgraduate medical education.
Keen to see Mengo at the forefront of innovation and modernisation.
I was born at Mengo hospital in April 1962, just prior to Independence under Prime Minister Obote. My parents, Dr Hugh and Mrs Gwen Oliver were missionaries with The Church of Uganda and both heavily involved in the hospital with my father eventually becoming the Medical Superintendent. I enjoyed a very happy childhood initially alongside my elder brother and sister, David and Alison, and later joined by three younger brothers, Anthony and Peter and Michael ("the twins"). A true "African family"!
For much of my time in Uganda, I remember a very settled childhood, being parentally insulated by the leadership power struggles that raged around us. I remember being aware of "bangs and crashes" on the occasions when the dispute was localised, such as 1966 during the "Battle of Mengo Hill" evicting Mutesa II and also the toppling of Obote by Idi Amin Dada in 1971.
I lovingly remember the highly amiable climate, the day beginning and ending with amazing sunrises and sunsets, the rainy season and the droughts during dryer periods, running barefoot everywhere but having to wear sandals to Nakasero Primary School, swimming at the International Hotel (sometimes alongside the President himself!), holidays camping at Lake Nabugabo or on occasion in Kenya and the cold of returning to the UK for "leave".
In 1974 I joined my elder brother at boarding school near Liverpool and although this was my choice, most of my time there was spent wishing I was at home in Mengo. In 1976, after enduring as much of Idi Amin's reign and the associated "difficulties" that accompanied him, my parents returned to Cambridge to rebuild our family life together.
I did return to Uganda in May 1988, as an independent traveller for two months, and enjoyed working as a volunteer at an orphanage in Luwero. This time I was distinctly aware of the atrocities that the local people had endured in their recent history.
Armed with great memories of Mengo it was not really a difficult decision to join the Friends of Mengo Hospital committee and eventually to take over the post of treasurer. I feel very privileged to be part of a caring community that wants to see the hospital continue in its Christian witness of healing to the local people. It is amazing to see how your kind donations combine to improve both the facilities and working environment at the hospital.
After every committee meeting I leave determined to return "home", having been fired up by the positive reports of visiting members to the hospital and the vital work yet to be completed.
Maybe next year…
I became a supporter of Mengo after a couple came to my church in Bitton near Bristol about 25 years ago to talk about their time on a medical elective at the hospital.
Three years ago I decided to find out more about Mengo and emailed the hospital to see whether they could use my skills as a surveyor ( not imagining that they would have a job for a chartered surveyor who surveys houses).
They asked me to draw a plan of the 23 acre site and after some deliberation I arrived in Uganda, was greeted by hospital staff at the airport and was soon at the comfortable bungalow in the grounds of the hospital for Friends of Mengo volunteers. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
The needs of people in Ugandans are so great and most have nothing. The experience changed my life.
I managed to complete the plan and when I returned to the UK I wanted to get involved and joined the committee. I now edit Mengo Notes and see the positive effect that your donations make to the people of Uganda."You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" - C.S. Lewis
The UK Friends of Mengo Hospital began in 1959 when the first issue of Mengo Notes was printed and circulated to 1000 friends, supporters, employees and ex-employees. The "Friends" became all those who responded to this initial mailing. Mengo Notes is free, published annually and sent to anyone who is interested in Mengo Hospital. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for your free copy. Alternatively, download a copy from this site.
UK Friends of Mengo gained official charitable status in 1983 with the following aims:
- The advancement of the Christian faith in Uganda and particularly Mengo Hospital
- Support and aid for all aspects of Mengo Hospital
"Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being" - Kahlil Gibran
In 1983 Friends of Mengo UK became an 'official group' with charitable status.