The opening of the Teresa Ayiko International Hospital in Atiak, Uganda, is a remarkable achievement that reflects the power of community dreams, collaboration, and dedicated individuals. Here's a summary of the significant milestones and contributions that have made this hospital a reality.
The hospital is named in honor of Walter Lam's mother, Teresa Ayiko, who holds a special place in the heart of the Alliance's founder and President, Walter Lam. The hospital arose from a needs assessment conducted by Alliance for African Assistance in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Gulu, Ker Kwaro Atiak and other community leaders, in an effort to rebuild northern Uganda after 20 devastating years of war.
With the nearest major hospital located about 50 miles away, the plan was to create a Private Not-For-Profit (PNFP) Hospital to provide high quality healthcare that was not available at existing government health clinics, that could also provide those services for the approximately 1 million refugees from neighboring South Sudan. The community of Atiak generously donated and cleared the land for the hospital, and established a Hospital Board. The Alliance funded and employed over 200 local workers for 2 years to build the hospital, which includes on-site staff quarters, a mortuary, and related buildings.
Rotary Clubs in San Diego and Hexham, England obtained matching funds from the Rotary International Foundation for two Global Grants totaling around $500,000. The first grant provided medical equipment and an ambulance. Later, a second grant was obtained to provide additional medical equipment and solar photovoltaic roof panels and batteries in order to provide an uninterruptible electric power supply.
The hospital opened in late 2021, but surgeries and procedures requiring an uninterruptible power supply were not possible until the PV panels and batteries were installed in January 2024. The hospital has a capacity of 200 beds and represents a substantial investment of $3 million—with no debt. The community played a pivotal role in bringing this dream to life. Despite facing challenges and setbacks, the hospital is a dream come true for the community and all those who have been involved in making it a reality. It is a testament to the determination and collective effort of numerous individuals.