Our History

Building healthier lives by partnering to prevent, treat and manage Cardiovascular Disease

The Vision Bearer’s Story.

January 23 2012, began as the worst day of my life, my dad suffered a major heart attack. On this day, around 10.30 East African time in the morning, I received a terrifying call from my brother. “Rita, dad had a heart attack. We are at the Heart Institute in Mulago Hospital, doctors are doing everything they can to save his life” I sat up in my bed in shock and disbelief, thousands of miles away from home in Scotland UK my heart hurting and my head spinning.
This can’t be real, I thought. Not my dad. Not my mentor, my friend. We love him too much. Everyone loves him. He is just too important to too many people. I prayed to God to give him a second chance. Please Lord Not my dad, not now I prayed.

About an hour after the first call my brother called again saying “Dr. Lwabi (My daddy’s cardiologist) came out of dad’s procedure room and explained to us that dad’s heart attack was bad, and that he placed an emergency pace maker in his heart, he reassured them that he was going to be ok. My heart was simultaneously filled with joy and fear. Joy that my dad was saved. Fear that dad was a patient, a heart attack patient. Was he going to be okay? Was there still a chance he might die from this? I tried to stay strong, but the tears trickled down my cheeks. Being a nurse by training I knew how close we were to losing him.

The rest of the week was a blur, dad was lucky enough to be moved from ICU in 48 hours to a step-down unit, and discharged from the hospital four days after the event. January 23 2012, ended up as the best day of my life, it was the day my dad survived a major heart attack and got a second lease to life. I am so thankful for the Uganda Heart Institute they saved my dad’s life.

The journey to recovery after hospitalization was very lonely and scary for dad, mum and the rest of the family, there was no support of any kind, very little information about living with a pace maker and dad didn’t know anybody else that had survived a heart attack let alone living with a pace maker it was a very anxious time for him and mum who often said “Dad has a machine in his heart which can stop working at any moment”

On 15thMay 2017, fate stuck again this time it was my mum, I had breakfast with my mum and left my parents’ home to drive to work, five minutes into my journey I got a phone call from my cousin that mum had collapsed and seemed unconscious, I couldn’t believe my ears, I was just having breakfast with her a few minutes ago and now there is a chance I might lose her I drove straight back to my parent’s house calling for an ambulance from the nearest hospital.

When I got home mum was on the floor my Cousin and the rest of the family in a frantic panic and tears I asked them to lift her up to ensure we try and keep her airway open and keep talking to her to keep her conscience as we wait for the ambulance. I noticed she had a left sided facial droop and couldn’t speak I knew right away she was having a stroke, I gave her some aspirin and soon the ambulance crew came in we carried her out and rushed to the emergency room. At the hospital the CT head showed she had a clot in her brain and she was rushed to ICU and we were not allowed to see her it was a very scary time for the entire family. She stayed in hospital for 3 weeks and she was discharged to start the long recovery journey at home.

There are two people I would like to thank, Dr. Lwabi for saving my daddy’s life and Dr. Luzige for saving my mum’s life. Their expertise, fast thinking and overall great care saved my parents’ lives, and I will never be able to thank them enough.
Not only did they provide extraordinary care to my dad and mum, but their patience and diligence to my family was outstanding. I could not have asked for better doctors, to care for my parents.

However, having gone through these two experiences as a trained nurse and Public Health Practitioner who had worked in the National Health Service Scotland for 15 years, I realized there were so many gaps in Cardiac Health in the areas of awareness on prevention of heart diseases and support for patients and their families who survive cardiac events like Heart attacks and strokes.

This motivated me to seek support from my co- founder to start a foundation that would help to close these gaps thus Healthy Heart Foundation establishment.

My Co-Founder Hon. Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa is a Rotarian for many years, former president of RC Kampala North and former Rotary District Governor for district 9211 that covers Tanzania and Uganda. His work in rotary has brought him face to face with the challenges in communities first hand. This has motivated him to keep supporting programs, entities and initiatives that design interventions to alleviate suffering faced by individuals in communities.

HHF provides both space and platform for Robert to yet again join like-minded people to exchange ideas and design interventions to support the less fortunate in our communities affected by cardio vascular diseases and to raise awareness on the prevention of heart diseases and save lives.