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History of Mengo Hospital

SSekabaka Mutesa 1(King of Buganda) invited Missionaries to come to Uganda.

By the 2ND half of the 19th Century, Christianity and western medical care had not reached Uganda.  Ugandans were in “Spiritual darkness”; they believed in and practiced witchcraft. Diseases like Sleeping sickness and Syphilis were occurring at epidemic levels in the country.

Dr. Sir Albert Ruskin Founder of Mengo Hospital

Realizing that his subjects needed the “light”, the then King of Buganda Sekabaka Mutesa 1 invited men of Good will from England to come and evangelize; to bring the “light” that consisted  of three important elements namely: Evangelism, Health care and education.

It is upon this that the founding of Mengo Hospital rose.

In response to the King’s invitation mentioned above, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) of England sent a team of Missionaries to Uganda. In the team was a Physician, Dr. Sir Albert Ruskin Cook (RIP), who arrived in Uganda on 15th February 1897.

Dr. Sir Albert Ruskin Founder of Mengo Hospital

Soon after his arrival, Dr. Cook realized that if he were to minister to the spiritual lives of the people of Uganda, he had to give attention to their enormous physical problems as well. Consequently, on 22nd February 1897, Sir Dr. Cook held his first outpatient clinic under a tree on Namirembe hill, present day Mengo Hospital. With that single event, the first seed for the Christian Medical work in Uganda was planted. Ever since, that work has continued to grow and to develop in size and scope uninterrupted for the last 124 years. Thus, Mengo hospital started the journey of being a ‘’Christian Medical Witness.”

Since then, Mengo Hospital honors its founder and the Father of Modern Medicine Dr. Sir Ruskin Albert Cook who turned the present day Mengo Hospital into the pioneer of modern medicine in Uganda and East Africa at large. Mengo Hospital ‘s operations ensure that the Sir Albert Cook legacy continues, and the Sir Albert Cook Building houses several health care services in Mengo Hospital.

The Sir Albert Cook Building at Mengo Hospital

Sir Albert Cook  worked along side colleagues that like: Roy Billington, Margaret Bond Luke and Katherine Cook.

Various wards in Mengo Hospital were named after these gallant men plus women in honor of their legacy.

Lady Katherine Cook was  the wife of  Dr.Sir Albert Cook and the attending Nurse who performed the assisting  role to the Doctor during operations. She later on became overwhelmed and founded the Mengo School of Nursing & Midwifery,to groom more Nurses and Midwives. This was  as the first School of  Nursing and Msidwifery  in Uganda and East Africa.


Mengo Hospital’s founding Physician and Nurse arrived in Uganda with a clear evangelical purpose to provide curative care that might influence grateful patients to accept their “moral” cure as well.

Mengo Hospital pioneered modern medicine in Uganda Plus East Africa and continues the legacy of “Christian Medical Witness.”

An aerial view of Mengo Hospital over 120years back

Katherine and Luke Wards

Mengo Hospital staff during health care service delivery over 120 years back