Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Kitovu, is located in Masaka town, Uganda, about 140km from the capital Kampala. It is a 248 bed Mission Hospital, operating under the umbrella organization of the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau.
Like many Mission Hospitals, Kitovu was started by a Catholic Nursing Order in the early 20th century. and Kitovu still has an Irish Nun, Sister Maura Lynch, who was, until recently, Superintendent of the hospital.
Sister Maura Lynch joined a Catholic Nursing Order as a teenager and decided that she would like to become a doctor. Following her graduation from medical school, Sister Maura specialized as a gynaecologist and has devoted her life to the care of women in Africa, first in Angola and then in Uganda.
Sister Maura has always had a passion for the poor women suffering with vesico-vaginal fistula at Kitovu. In 2005, she raised funds to build a dedicated fistula ward and over the years she has built up an international team of experienced fistula surgeons. Four times a year, a two week intensive training and treatment camp is held. It is the leading training centre in Uganda and to date over 30 African gynaecologist have had a basic introduction to fistula care and a handful have progressed to more advanced work.
The UCIF has contributed financially to many camps and for many years Brian Hancock was one of the lead surgeons. Following Brians’s retirement from clinical work, his place has been taken by Michael Bishop a retired urologist from Nottingham. Mhairi Collie has joined the pool of experts and brings her special experience as a UK colo-rectal surgeon for those who have bowel incontinence .
In 2013, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of England awarded Sister Maura Lynch a very well deserved Honorary Fellowship for the work she has done in Kitovu.