Namutumba Community Hospital
Namutumba Town Council
+256200907161 / +41779234971
[email protected] www.nch.ug
VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM
1. About Our International Volunteering Program
Namutumba Community Hospital, referred to as NCH, offers a volunteering program for international volunteers. Volunteers can become involved in all areas of the hospital they have expertise in, bringing together great minds and a positive attitude to learn and profit from one another. NCH welcomes volunteers for periods of a minimum of 100 hours and maximum of 3 month. Visiting clinicians who can offer teaching and training to the staff of NCH are instrumental in contributing to the development and progress of the hospital. They can always come for shorter periods of time. To keep and gain the quality of the hospital, we value expertise and distance ourselves from white saviorism.
1.1. Why Do We Offer Volunteering?
We serve the community by improving the quality of life through better health, and as an institution we provide jobs for the local people, hence contribute to the development of the area. Internationally we offer volunteering with the following aims:
- To make NCH Uganda known to a wider audience both locally and internationally
- Exchange of knowledge
- Access new fundings to improve the financing of the hospital and being able to treat more clients belonging to the poor population.
- Since we are a growing institution our budget allows limited staff with long working hours. Staff will appreciate to share the workload with you.
- Doctor-patient ratio in Uganda is 1:25’000, while WHO recommends a ratio of 1:1000. Each and every medical person counts and helps to improve the situation little by litte.
1.2. What Can You Profit From Volunteering?
As an international volunteer, you will encounter insights to a new culture. Both Ugandan way of life and work. Sometimes you might experience how to come out of your comfort zone. Travelling is enriching and while combining it with work, you might grow personally and see new aspects of your job, how sometimes things are probably done different than what you are used to.
We will do our best to welcome you, introduce you to the work and support you where necessary while your stay (e.g. informations on living, transport, travel etc).
We hope you to feel the satisfaction of serving the rural community of Namutumba, by improving health and saving lives.
1.3. Professions We Are Looking For
Fields of interest for the NCH are majorly health personal like nurses, midwifes, doctors, radiologists, therapysts, … But could be also accountants, craftsperson, human resource, business administration, insurers etc. Volunteers may be fully educated professionals or students. They are supposed to declare their level of education and experience in the application form.
2.1. Costs You Pay / Do
For you taking a long way to come and work with us, You are required to finance your flight,entry Visa to Uganda and also contribute sam of $100 for fuel if the hospital van will drive to pick you up and back to the air port once you are heading back home. There is also an option of using public transport but we advice our volunteers not to use public transport during late ours due to our bad roads.
The hospital proves room in which our volunteers reside in with in the community during your time of volunteership , the room contains bed, mosquito net, percolator and cups for making evening tea. Please note that Hospital only provides a uniform lunch for all Staffs and volunteers while on duty,in the evening volunteers can buy snacks in town and take them to their rooms for the evening cup of tea. You can buy mobile wifi from any of telephone companies around.
We highly appreciate if you organize a fundraising on behalf of Namutumba Community Hospital. The hospital will assist you with the necessary informations, and will allocate the funds toward specific need with the hospital budget and there for is always wise to transfar the funds to hospital account with the give time frame once the agoal is reached.
Our Volunteership is for 3monthes work Daily menu in the hospital restaurant (in case a person wants to have a special meal apart from the day menu, you will be asked to order it earlier and pay for it in the hospital restaurant)
3. Your Preparation Before Your Trip
3.1. Why And How Do You Want To Volunteer?
Mandatory for german speakers: Please read through this free online seminary about volunteering https://brueckenwind.org/ob-fuer-freiwillige/ Online-Begleitung für Freiwillige: Start | Brückenwind (brueckenwind.org) Weil das Programm für die Freiwilligenarbeit entlang der Fluchtrouten nach Europa konzipiert wurde passt nicht jeder Artikel 100% wortwörtlich zu unserem Kontext. Insgesamt ist das Online-Programm aber eine sehr wertvolle Ressource mit wichtigen Fragen und Antworten zu deiner persönlichen, auch mentalen, Vorbereitung, Zusammenarbeit mit NCH, Abgrenzung von white saviorism, Anleitungen und Tipps für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Fundraiser, Nachbereitung des Einsatzes usw
For english speakers: unfortunately this comprehensive free online seminary about volunteering is not yet fully translated. You have introductions to topics in english, but for detailed information we still have to do further research. The programm addresses volunteering on europes boarders, therefore it is not 100% accurate to our situation at NCH, but it still provides a great overview on all aspects of volunteering, mental preparation, advice on public communication and fundraising, postprocessing etc https://brueckenwind.org/online-seminar-for-volunteers-start/?lang=en Online Seminar for volunteers: Start | Brückenwind (brueckenwind.org)
To learn how to distance from white saviorism try this article:
3.2. Medical Preparation
For medical personal: Post Exposure Prophylaxis (HIV): There is a limited and variable supply of PEP at the hospital. It is advisable for you to bring your own supply of PEP so that it is readily available to you if you need it. This might be something that can be covered by your insurance provider so you can discuss with them in advance.
Malaria Prophylaxis and Immunisations: Malaria is endemic in east Africa and currently on high frequence in Namutumba, so malaria prophylaxis is essential. It is advisable to visit a travel medicine clinic to get advice before you travel, to get advice about immunisations (malaria, meningitis, hepatitis, typhod, rabbies,…) and general travel advice. Yellow Fever immunization is mandatory for entry into Uganda.
Check the current travel restrictions on Covid-19 or other infectious diseases.
We request you to make inquiries with your insurance companies (health, travel, household,…) to give you a proper guidance on what they will cover during your travel or stay abroad. We as NCH do not cover any insurance for you.
For medical Personnal: Even as a medical student it is important to have cover with a medical indemnity provider in case of any issues while you are in the hospital. Please ensure you have discussed your elective about medical indemnity protection with them before you come.
Any person intending to travel to Uganda must apply online and have a Travel Authorization/Visa Approval Letter before embarking on their travel to Uganda as there are no visas issued on arrival.
If you are volunteering between 100 hours up to 3 month, apply for a touristic visa on your own. For those planning a longer stay, we need to apply for an entry visa and a volunteers work permit, NCH in collaboration with you.
Procedure to apply for Uganda Tourist Visa:
- Log into www.visas.immigration.go.ug , start a new application and accept the disclaimer.
- Choose the application type (visa) and the category (ordinary, multiple entry, east Africa tourist visa, upon your choice)
- Choose the subcategory (single entry, ultiple entry for 6-12 month upon your choice)
- Fill the electronic form with personal details of the applicant
- Add required documents depending on the category and reason for travel, like copyof recent passport size photograph, copy of passport bio-data page, Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, invitation letter etc.
- Submit the application.
- Make payment for the visa you applied for, either by Master or Visa Card.
There are no direct flights from Switzerland to Uganda at present but you can travel through Dubai (Emirates), Doha (Qatar Airways), Amsterdam (KLM), Brussels (SN Brussels), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines).
After the Flight bookings, you can let us know your time of arrival if you wish to get picked up by one of our staff at the airport. We will be happy to welcome you and make you reach Namutumba safely. However, we kindly request you to finance the fuel for picking you from the airport which is about 250’000UGX one way, price varies due to the unstable prices of fuel.
If your flight arrives in Entebbe later than 3pm it is advisable to remain in Entebbe or Kampala until the following day as it is not advisable to travel at night. A plethora of guesthouses are available and are often able to provide airport collection but sometimes on extra cost.
There is a cash machine available in Iganga the next district (power dependent), where you can get Uganda Shillings. The daily limit of money available at those machines is much lower than what we are used to in Switzerland. Therefore it is also advisable to travel with USD or Euros for exchange to Uganda Shillings in Kampala if once you suddenly need a higher amount (f.ex. for touristic trips). In Kampala you will receive the best exchange rates. Notice that higher notes are receiving better exchange rates than small notes. Pay by card is possible on some fuel stations and in higher range restaurants/hotels.
4. During Your Stay
We are providing for you accommodation in a basically furnished room with own bathroom. A kitchen is not yet available, but at least a waterboiling kettle and a toasting machine. Thecurrent room is located in a compound with other tenants, which improves safety and gives you the opportunity to live and meet close up with locals out of hospital.
4.2. Food, Beverages, Water Hygiene
Use safe drinking water (=bottled water) or boilt water even for brushing. In many places tap water is not safe. Keep dishes in closed cupboards or boxes to avoid getting dirty from vermin.
Food is available in a plenty of local restaurants. Make sure you eat only hot meals, to avoid belly issues. In small restaurants, sometimes the menue is bigger than the actual kitchen. When reaching a restaurant, just ask which foods are ready and whitin few minutes you will be served a hot meal. Because many Ugandans eat few meals a day, the portions are rather big, it is okay to bring along a well closing container to carry leftovers with you. In Uganda it is common to combine several starchy foods with one sauce. Common foods include vegetable bananas (=Matooke), rice, chappatti, sweet potatos, irish potatos, cassawa, yam, white mais polenta, … Sauces include stews of various meats (cow, goat, fish, chicken), beans, groundnutsauce, peas, types of various local spinaches, cole slaw etc In the hospital canteen most often they serve rice and beans.
Ugandan bread is comparable to toastbread of Switzerland. Common drinks are spiced black tea brewed with either water or milk (=African tea), and a large variety of sodas. On the (street) markets you can get a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables like banana, avocado, mango, ananas, watermelon, pawpaw, passion fruit, etc
Local snacks include roasted gnuts, samosa (=sombusa of either minced meat or vegetarian), chips, popcorn, roasted mais,…
4.3. Culture codes, Flexibility, Inflation, etc…
Ugandans typically dress in smart and conservative manner. While staying in Uganda, flexibility and patience are key competences to have a relaxed mind. Plan one thing for a day. In Uganda humbleness and politeness is highly valued. Especially to experience in long greeting situations when meeting a person/a group, but also when approaching someone on a counter for example or if you need something of anybody. Greetings and asking about their wellbeing before coming to the point is appreciated. Locally women may kneel when greeting men respectfully, this is not expected to be done by foreigners. Ugandan politeness differs from swiss politeness, for example if a Ugandan is requested something they hardly ever answer a straigth “no”, this is taken as rude, instead they answer like “maybe” and later it might show out to have meant “no”. On your side, be careful which details you speak about yourself. Although moste people interact freely and friendly, they know how to keep their privacy which is highly valued. You can keep your safety by not speaking around too much where you are going, or when. Don’t speak about your finances.
Be careful to whom you give your contact details, maybe only to 1-2 entrusted people. Generally Ugandans are very friendly, helpful and mostly godfearing people (christians and muslims live friendly with one another, the world should take for example!), but different living standards and poverty is real and sometimes it might lead some individuals to unpleasant actions if served on the silver plate. Sometimes whites are charged “muzungu prices” which means you can get charged a higher price than a local. (Muzungu = English speaker / One from England = one from abroad)
However in such areas it is possible and common to bargain prices. Opposite to supermarkets where everybody is charged the same price by standard, often indicated on the shelves. Uganda is often undergoing inflations. It’s economy reacts very very sensitive on world politics. What you pay today sometimes changes whitin few weeks, especially if fuel prices are affected, this influences prices on a wast variety of goods and services.
You can pay somebody to hand wash your clothes, but never give your underwear and don’t dry them in places where others can see them. Don’t promote homosexuality, it is illegal in Uganda and highly unaccepted in the society.
Ugandan government does not allow freedom of assembly, therefore stay away from big gatherings if you are not sure that they are permitted by the local authorities. We have collected some information here which we find useful, it could be long continued, we are sure you are going to make a lot of new experiences and hopefully enjoy a great time in the pearl of Africa!
Namutumba Community Hospital – Uganda makes every endeavour to provide a safe and secure working environment for all volunteers and not to ask any volunteer to perform tasks beyond the competency of the volunteer, or without appropriate training and supervision. However, every volunteer must take care for their own safety and well-being and the safety and well-being of others around them. Volunteers should not undertake tasks for which they do not feel competent, or work in situations at Namutumba Community Hospital – Uganda where they do not believe their own safety is assured.
You are responsible for your own safety also when traveling through the country. Uganda is relatively peaceful and safe to travel (not at night) but for the most up to date information you should refer to the foreign office website.
For German speakers:
For English speakers:
Swiss residents and nationals may download and register with the swiss travel app of EDA
https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home/vertretungenundreisehinweise/laenderunabhaengigereiseinformationen/travel-admin-app.html Travel Admin App The app provides some useful information on traveling and in case of a crisis it enables the swiss authorities to get in contact with you easier to assist you.
Public transport: Taxis (=Matatu, Mini-Bus) are the easiest way to get in and out of Namutumba. They move on designated routes along which ones you can get into and out of the taxi wherever you want. To stop a taxi for you, you just stand at the road side and raise your arm when one approaches. However it needs strong nerves and sometimes good luck to travel with public means, since they usually drive very fast.
Buses are used on long distances with less inbetween stops, hence rarely stopping in Namutumba. On short distances whitin Namutumba itself, motorbike taxi services are common and affordable. The hospital can provide you with contacts of entrusted drivers. Private Hire: A private hire is a taxi or a car rental as it is perceived in many countries. You rent a car including its driver for a specific time frame or route. Fuel is paid extra. The costs vary to the type and condition of the car and can be around 40 to 100 Dollars a day.
4.6. Sim Cards And Internet
When passing through Kampala you can get a local sim card with data packages for internet access for your mobile phone. MTN has the best 3G coverage in Namutumba. In the guest apartment there is a wifi box (router) containing a sim card which you can also add data to and use f.ex. if you carried a laptop.
4.7. English, Lusoga, Luganda
Official languages in Uganda are English and Swahili, none of them is a local language by history. There are 41 living languages in todays Uganda and while working and traveling in and around Namutumba you might majorly encounter English, Lusoga and Luganda, two closely related Bantu languages. Lusoga is the language mainly spoken in Busoga region.
Namutumba is a district whitin Busoga. Luganda is originally the language of the Baganda in central Uganda but nowadays widely spoken or understood in most of Uganda. Many medias, newspapers, radios, tv- stations do broadcast in Luganda language.
Free learning ressource https://learn-luganda.com Learn Luganda (learn-luganda.com)
Unfortunately we have not yet found a comprehensive source to learn Lusoga.
4.8. Touristic Trips
Uganda is also called the pearl of Africa. It is home to such a big range of landscapes, vegetations and animals. It has several national parks which are all worth to visit. You can have gentle boat trips on the Nile, or having adventures with river rafting, zip lining, mountain biking, bunjee jumping etc. You can have sun bath at the beach of lake Victoria, swim in lake bunyonyi or having game drives, nature walks, search for mountain gorillas,… even mountaineering to the Elgon or Rwenzori Mountains (mountains of the moon) up to 5109mas is highly recommendable if you love hiking and seeing new landscapes and plants you have never seen in you life before. Animals in Uganda include chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, wide range of antilopes and birds, f.ex. flamingos and shoebill, elephants, zebras, hyenas, lions, leopards, giraffes, ostrich, hippos, crocodile, buffalo, rhinos, chameleone, … We do recommend you to book your tour and travel experience with Muna Safaris, they have the love and respect for nature and the win received is used to support women, children and families with disabilities and elderly people. If you are interested you can get their contact through the hospital administration.
Before you take your flight to Uganda, you are supposed to sign a volunteering contract with The contract shows the details of your work assignments, what you are able to work, how many hours days /a week, duration of your stay, who your supervisors are, some key rules of the hospital, etc. If during the volunteering period any party raises concerns about how the work is going, or about the content of the contract, it may be discussed and adjusted to both parties agreement in a personal meeting with your supervisors with 3 to4 days
5.1. Contact Person in NCH
Your volunteering contract shows who your supervisors are. You may contact your supervisors with any question concerning your volunteership or your stay at the hospital in general. Your supervisor is supposed to officially welcome and introduce you to the team and to the work whitin the first couple of days of your volunteering. For nurses the supervision generally is done by the nurse in charge and the human resource administrator.
For doctors / medical students it is the doctor in charge and the human resource administrator For craftsmen the administrator of logistics and human resource Etc Your contact persons about preparing and postprocessing your trip, about fundraisers and public communications, are Job Zilaba the co-founder and Madleina Zilaba.
5.2. Work Plans
To keep work load balanced it is important for the whole team to keep work plans reliable and to reach punctual. If once you can’t make it out of an urgent reason (sickness i.e.) please inform your supervisor as early as possible. If you want to make changes in shifts on your work plan, talk to the person in charge of your work plan to find out if it is possible. As a volunteer from abroad you might want to get some time off to explore the country. Discuss this in advance to your contract if you are working short weeks with long weekends, or if you are going to have a holiday in between, at the end, or how you imagine your stay, and we will check if we can plan accordingly.
5.3. Competence at Work
At the introduction meetings make it clear to your supervisors of what you are and are not qualified for or competent to undertake. Don’t operate beyond your competency levels in the hospital. Carry out the duties listed in your volunteer position description; Be accountable. Report any injuries or hazards that you notice in the workplace. Local systems of work, rules and policies, even when different from what you are used to, must be respected. Same as in most companies, especially in the medical field, you have to hold back about patients privacy and confidential informations of the institution. All personal information about patients is strictly confidential.
The NCH asks all volunteers not to give any means of support to individual , workers members of the community or students directly. Any help. Incase the Volunteer wishes to do so, it must be channelled through Namutumba Community Hospitaland be discussed with the Hospital Director, this is done to control ethics.
- Our programs are violence-free, alcohol-free and drug-free environments. Volunteersare not to smoke, drink, use drugs or carry any type of weapons on site.
- Volunteers are to engage in gracious and edifying conversation and are to avoid swearing or cursing on site.
- Harassment of any kind is not permitted and will be subject to disciplinary action by Namutumba Community Hospital.
- Namutumba Community Hospital is not responsible for the personal property of volunteers.
- Volunteers are not authorized to identify themselves with Namutumba Community Hospital, or attempt to use their position to gain credibility for political purposes or illicit personal gain.
5.5. Dress Code
Medical personal will receive a uniform provided by the hospital. Volunteers in other professions will receive an admin shirt and please brings along dark blue long trousers for men, long trousers or knee-length skirt for women.
Volunteers must arrive dressed appropriately for the work they will be performing. Our dress code exists to protect volunteer safety, follow safety standards, and show respect to our clients. Volunteers arriving dressed inappropriately may not take part in activities unless suitable accommodations can be made.
- Closed-toed shoes
- Clothing that completely cover chest, shoulders, upperarms and knees
- For surgeries: Hairnets (provided by NCH) or a hat/cap (brought by the volunteer)
- Gloves and aprons (provided by NCH)
- No bracelets, watches or dangly earrings
- Long sleeves must be pushed above elbows while working on patients
- Clothing must not portray themes related to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or violence
Volunteers may share their personal experience at NCH via social media but may NOT include photos or names of any patient or staff whitout their permission. If taking photographs, informed written or verbal consent should be acquired (bearing in mind language communication difficulties). One should liaise with the nurse in charge of the shift to discuss photography and cameras should not be on show until consent has been gained.
- Volunteers are encouraged to maintain a high standard of integrity and professionalism when relating with community members and staff. Love relationships are not allowed at work.
- Volunteers are not to engage in a private transaction involving gifts, services or money with any community member and Staff. Any gifts should be directed to or channeled through the organization. Volunteers may not accept money or gifts from community members for services rendered.
- Volunteers are not to lend cell phones to, nor make calls for, community members. Volunteers are asked not to share personal contact details such as home or email address, phone numbers or social media information with community members and staff while volunteering or on their return home. (maybe better: Volunteers are asked to choose carefully with whom they share their personal contact details such as…)
After your return home we would wish to have a postprocessing meeting with you about your experiences in NCH. We will gladly hear about your experiences or maybe critics on what we could improve according to your opinion.
6.2. Financial Support for NCH
As we already stated in the reasons why we welcome volunteers, two of them are:
- to make NCH Uganda known to a wider audience both locally and internationally
- access new fundings to improve the financing of the hospital and being able to treat more clients belonging to the poor population.
We expect you to organise any type of fundraiser to the benefit of NCH. Depending on your abilities and creativity, options vary for example from a street vending, to a charity meal, concert/exhibition to online fundraisers etc For the online fundraisers we request you to work together with our own webhost, instead of loosing part of the donations through fees to other websites like gofundme etc. Fees that might look like a small amount in your country, can already make a change in Uganda. 3 CHF (= the gofundme fee for a donation of 100CHF) can already pay the malaria test for a patient. It is necessary to detect it early to safe his life!
7. Application Procedures
To apply for volunteering with NCH Uganda you please read carefully this volunteers guide to find out if this is the place fitting to your expectations. If there are some questions or some specific additional wishes like different type of accommodation, questions about NCH in general or about your labour offer etc we might have not yet thought about, still feel free to contact us and we will look upon it, if it can fit in with us or how else we can help you.
- Fill the application form and send it to [email protected]
- Wait for response from the hospital
- If you have received a positive response, we will set an appointment (in person or on zoom) to discuss with you the next steps of organizing your stay.
Version March 2023