Dr. Sister Priscilla Busingye, OB-GYN, is not only the first African to receive the award, but also the first woman to do so.
The prize is the largest dedicated to direct patient care, and includes $500,000 that will go toward Dr. Busingye’s medical work.
After receiving training from the Banyatereza Sisters of Uganda, Dr. Busingye provided life-changing medical care to rural Uganda. The work is near and dear to her heart, as she was raised in a rural Ugandan village, with no electricity, no medical equipment, and little to no access to doctors and nurses.
In her early teenage years, Dr. Busingye was forced to drop out of school, and didn’t enter high school until age 20. She says her work with the Sisters was instrumental to achieving her dream.
“Dr. Busingye’s life and work are truly amazing,” AMH co-founder and prize sponsor Mark Gerson said in a press statement.
“She epitomizes everything that a compassionate, community-minded person could possibly aspire to, regardless of their faith tradition. She ‘loves the stranger’ every day in a genuine and tangible manner. It is a joy for my wife, Erica, and me, as Jews, to celebrate the work of this wonderful Christian physician.”
The $500,000 prize means so much more than money to Dr. Busingye and the locals she tends to.
She says her dream is to improve medical care in forgotten areas of Uganda. She plans to upgrade the Rwibaale Clinic, and has long envisioned better maternal and child care.
“As a young doctor, my passion was to help the poor in the community,” Dr. Busingye said.
“One of the sites was where women delivered babies in an old wooden shack that served as a labor ward. These conditions inspired me to dream big and transform Rwibaale Clinic to be a quality facility where babies could be delivered safely.”
According to the SOUL Foundation, the maternal mortality rate in Uganda is one of the highest in the world; 1 in every 49 Ugandan women die of pregnancy or delivery-related complications.
Now, with the L’Chaim Prize money, Dr. Busingye plans to transform the clinic into a care center that will deliver an estimated 1,000 babies and provide primary care for 1,170 children in need under the age of 6. Their families will also be able to receive care at the new and improved center, bringing the patient total to an estimated 5,100.
“Ensuring access to quality obstetric care is the primary way to improve the lives of mothers and their children,” Dr. Busingye added. “Building a model center in the village of Rwibaale will enable training and mentoring of other health providers to learn what is possible when care is provided the right way.”
The center will allow for the training and mentorship of 120 doctors and will create an additional 50-plus jobs in the local community.
Dr. Busingye says that her work isn’t just charitable, but spiritual, too.
“Knowing that I meet God in every patient gives me great joy,” she said.
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