Uganda is a landlocked rural country in East Africa that was once described by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa” for its “magnificence, for [its] variety of form and color, for [its] profusion of brilliant life.” Today, however, more than 48% of the population falls into the 0-to-14 age bracket, while the average life expectancy is 55. There is a profound lack of access to affordable and quality health care services and the rate of infections from preventable diseases is high.
Having fled the violent Idi Amin regime to live in the U.S. in 1979 – and as a nurse by training –Faith Mulira always dreamed of returning to her village of Masooli to build a clinic that would help reduce the suffering and countless deaths from diseases like malaria, HIV and malnutrition.
In 2011, she realized this dream by erecting the Faith Mulira Health Care Centre with the help of a small donation of family land and a large group of supporters in both Uganda and the U.S. Licensed by the Uganda Ministry of Health, the clinic offers residents of Masooli, a village located several miles from the nation’s capital in Kampala, with ready access to medical treatment, family planning, and health education.
“Faith always dreamed of returning to her village of Masooli, to build a medical clinic to address the needless suffering and countless deaths from preventable diseases like malaria, HIV, and malnutrition.”
AN ONGOING SOLUTION
Faith Mulira, the clinic’s visionary and founder, died at age 91 on August 17, 2015. Her life of love and devotion was celebrated by several hundred residents of her beloved Masooli and its surrounding communities at her funeral service on August 25, 2015.Faith’s schooling and career path led to a career in nursing and to her directorship of the Sanyu Babies Home, Uganda’s oldest orphanage. Faith worked at the home for 17 years, caring for orphans and abandoned children, many of whom regarded her as their only mother.
In 1979, Faith was forced to flee the violent regime of Idi Amin that claimed the lives of many of her friends and family members. Fearing for her life, she moved to the U.S., where her five grown children were living. Capitalizing on her background as a nurse, she completed a certificate program in gerontology at St. Joseph College in West Hartford, CT. Thereafter, she cared for the elderly in their homes for more than thirty years in the Greater Hartford area.
As much as she loved living in the U.S. close to her children, Faith always dreamed of returning to her village of Masooli, to build a clinic that would address the needless suffering and countless deaths from preventable diseases like malaria, HIV and malnutrition. With unshakeable faith in God, she donated some family land and inspired her friends in Uganda and the U.S. to organize and support the Masooli Project. Faith Mulira Health Care Centre officially opened its doors in January of 2011. The clinic serves as a living testimony to Faith’s life of sacrifice, courage, faith and service to others.
Faith’s beautiful story was chronicled in To Be Neither Seen Nor Heard by Jessie Ruth Gaston. In the book’s forward, Ugandan writer F.D.R Gureme summarizes her extraordinary life: “Triumphing over conservative opposition to the progress of women and the prudish ridicule of their potential attributes, Faith Mulira has rightly earned her place among Uganda’s prominent daughters, wives, mothers, and grandmothers.”
SERVICES PROVIDED TODAY
Today, Faith Mulira Health Care Centre is a Level III health care facility registered and licensed by Uganda’s Ministry of Health. The clinic provides general outpatient services as well as reproductive healthcare, with a small maternity ward. Clinic staff regularly conduct community outreach programs providing a range of preventive services. These include health screenings and patient education, immunizations, family planning and testing for diabetes, hypertension and HIV.