A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The International Hospital- Meet Ian Clarke

I first came across Ian Clarke through a viewing of the ‘Longest River’, when he joined the rafting crew down the Nile (see previous blog ‘Quite Bright and Filming’). Watching him in action, I was impressed by his commentary and observations while passing through the conflict zones of South Sudan, and particularly with his leadership ability within the team. So when I heard about his work in Kampala, I was eager to track him down.

Ian, an Irish medical doctor, originally came to Uganda as a GP and from there set up a rural hospital North of Kampala. His work there showed him the need for high quality medical service provision across the country. He was also eager to show that when it comes to the medical profession that ‘quality’ and ‘Uganda’ can be combined. ‘I decided that my goal was to start a hospital in Kampala and raise medical standards’, he commented. ‘But this time, instead of targeting the rural poor, where I had been working, that I would target the emerging middle income group, and use the money that they pay to upgrade the services and thus effect the overall health services’

So emerged ‘International Hospital Kampala’, a private hospital which provides specialist services in the city. Included are Oncology and Plastics departments, and a nursing school. ‘So it means that you can have a third world country, but it does not mean that it is third rate’, he added-with pride.

The hospital is now at a stage of attracting private sector sponsorship to support a charitable ward in the hospital, so that people who cannot afford the services can still access them. There are also has plans for a medical university, so as to raise the bar on training, and to expand clinical services regionally.

‘The core value is making a difference- and if you are making a difference, you are bringing hope. The ideal of wanting to make a difference, is wanting to multiply ourselves. We are not there just for our service, even making the competition buck up a bit, but we want to take some of the principles we learned and teach other people’.

It has been an intense few years for Ian, who himself has had a battle with illness. I asked him what has kept him going. ‘I have a very strong belief in people, and I think it is my belief in people which enables me to do what I do’, he added. ‘Plus some of it is just determination. You don’t give up and you don’t expect to make huge strides at once. Things happen incrementally, and then you look around in a couple of years, and say, yes, look at what we have done’.


Blogger Unknown said...

I am a Ugandan Doctor working with the UN in Kampala. I cherish Dr. Ian Clarke's effort as demonstrated by the work at The International hospital Kampala. Surely quality of care and Uganda are not mutually exclusive as Dr. Clarke has shown. I also happen to be a GMC insurance member and I know that The International hospital is one of the very few listed where one can apply this membership card and obtain Medical Care. What does not seem clear to me however is why some health staff seem reluctant to accept this card. Could there be a problem in this partnership? If so, we would like to raise this issue with GMC

2:18 p.m.

Blogger Unknown said...

i go a long way back with Dr.Ian Clarke. i have had the pleasure of working with him from 2003 till mid 2004. indeed a man who believed in himself and trsuted others. a man with a vision-to provide health care to all. very proactive,to the point,great doctor, even greater businessman. shared 9 months of my life working with him and his fantastic team at IHK and IMG. in retrospect, a very memorable experience. a man i shall always remember. i would also like to take this oppertunity to mention that another person i shall always remember is Miss.Flavia Matovu, his PR- one of the most fantastic human beings i have ever some across. wish you both all success. i am presently working as a Registrar in A&E at Ealing Hospital in London,UK.

7:21 a.m.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read your article with a lot of interest.
We are a new medical magazine targetting exceptional doctors in East Africa.
As editor i would very much like to profile Dr Ian Clarke.
How can I get in touch with him?

12:09 p.m.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed Doctor Clarke is a man who trusts and believes in people. I first came to know him when i was a young boy in Kapeeka orphanage in luweero district which was greatly affected by the civil war that brought the current ugandan president to power.He was based in Kiwoko missionary hosipital but he could drive quite a long journey to visit the orphanage to do health checks on us, dress wounds give injections ,some time he brought us sweets and other goodies, we always looked forward twice a week to see him arrive in his white suzuki. When i moved to the city for my secondary education i bumped into him at kampala pentecostal church by then he was promoting his "book the man with the key".By the he wasnt in good health he had just had chemotherapy and had lost all his hair but he was jovial and gave me all the attention and gave me his contacts. I read sciences for my A level as i was inspired by him to read medicine unfortunately i wasnt admitted on government sponsorship comming from a poor family i couldnt afford private sponsorship.
I was offered a place to read general nursing on government sponsorship in northern uganda. I had no choice at least it was acourse to do with saving lives and caring for the vulnerable which was and is my vocation.In my third year at the nursing school i happened to read a sunday ugandan newspaper in which Dr clarke had written an article about healthcare in uganda. i was so pleased to get his contact again as he had put a post address for all those who had comments about his articles.
He wrote back to me the same week and invited me to go to the capital city where he had opened a hosipital as soon i finish my state final exams.
When i went to see him he was pleased to see me gave me a quick interview about life in general then the nursing skills i have gain at the school, he refferred me to the director of nursing by Julie Wiltshire .I was offered a job as a nurse trainnee untill my results came back in three month time.I was earning very good money more than what qualified senior nurses get in the government hosipitals which was a very good start for me when my results came back i was confirmed as a general nurse and my pay went up.Working with him is the best mentor one would ever have . Always a good listener and correcting and directing you accordingly.Giving apportunities to young proffessions to prove there worth in the work place always international hosipital was teeming with young and upbeat individual it was more less a university in its own right he allowed people to continually develop their carreers and he always could let people go if they wanted too then let them come back if they wanted NB if your proved to be proffessional and knew your job. He was more less a father figure to young people. The two years i worked with him are the most memorable and fulfilling years in my proffessional career.
i choose to move to the Uk for further studies and he fully supported me to do so giving me a very good recommedation to the embassy.
I graduated with a first class combined Bsc (Hons)Health studies and social policy degree, then a post grad DMS Health services Management. Working with the local health authority in London as a care services manager.
I owe it all to Doctor clarke without giving me the chance in life to thrive i donot know where i would be.
Through him giving me a chance many young people in uganda have benefited as we have extended families iam able to pay school fees for more than 8 young people.
two graduated from university and one is working with the American Embassy in uganda.
He is my Hero i wish in uganda we had an award to recognise extra ordinary selfless loving people like doctor clarke who came to live among us during the worst times of carnage and civil war, he has given so much to uganda as a missionary and as an investor he still inspires young proffessional to live there dreams and aspirations in life.
Iam planning to buy him a personal gift but even i cannt think of any precious item that can reflect my true admiration for his loving and selfless charity work in uganda.
James Ntalumbwa

3:23 a.m.


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