Comic Relief’s Operation Health launches

Lenny Henry with some of the workers at the clinic

Comic Relief is excited to announce a brand new, never-been-done-before project for Red Nose Day. 

Operation Health for Comic Relief is an ambitious mission which will see a rundown, dilapidated clinic in Eastern Uganda renovated by a local team into a fully functioning healthcare facility during the Red Nose Day campaign.

Iyolwa clinic serves almost 20,000 people in the local community, with around 1,450 patients visiting per month. It has been functioning for years with no power or running water, a ceiling on the verge of collapse, rodent and insect infestations and outdated medical equipment. Women have given birth by the light of mobile phones and sometimes patients have feared for their lives because of the state of the ceiling.

“This clinic can only be described as awful,” Lenny Henry, who visited the clinic last year, said.

“It was so dark in there I could barely see where I was going and yet babies are delivered in there every week. Hornets swoop down from the crumbling roof and sting the patients as they are being treated. The staff are incredible, determined and passionate, but they need help to be able to give their community the help it really needs.”

Over the course of the Red Nose Day campaign, Comic Relief will be working with people in the local community to transform the clinic from somewhere people are scared to visit into a facility with running water, solar power, a stable structure and equipment that means people can be treated safely.

Lenny will return to the clinic, along with other celebrities throughout the project, to witness the progress. The effort will involve 89 skilled local workers, who will use 74,800 bricks, 32,500kg of cement and 580sqm of corrugated iron to create a new clinic to serve Iyolwa community for generations to come.