Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital is located in the town of Kalongo, within Agago District - Northern Uganda. It is bordered by 6 Districts: Pader to the West, Kitgum to the North, Kotido and Abim to the East, Otuke and Alebtong to the South. The majority of these neighbouring districts do not have functional hospitals and, therefore, Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial hospital serves also their population for all conditions requiring hospitalization.
The landscape is mainly characterized by savannah flat fertile land with gentle slopes becoming hillier and semi-arid towards the border with Abim District in the east. Acholi is the main ethnic group with a minority of Lango ethnic group towards its southern border with Otuke District. The Acholi sub-region of Northern Uganda has been affected by a 22 years long insurgency and conflict which have derailed the social and economic growth of the area. The level of literacy in the district population is still quite low and a large proportion of the inhabitants, especially women, do not speak or write English.
According to National Population and Housing Census 2014, the town of Kalongo currently has a total estimated population of 11,077. 87.27% Of Agago District’s population (appr. 230,000) lives in rural areas and just 12.73% in urban areas with a population density of 65 people per km2. The main economic activity is agriculture, with around 90% of the available work-force focused on subsistence farming in the framework of self-employment. The main crops grown in the region are millet, sorghum, maize, beans, ground-nuts, simsim, cassava, and sweet potatoes, produced mainly for local consumption. Other crops include cotton, rice, soya beans and sunflower produced mainly as cash crops, but in limited quantities. Most homesteads in the area rear cattle, goats, sheep, poultry and pigs as additional source of income. There are no industries in the district and commercial activities are very limited.
Agago District is one of the poorest areas of the country and a large proportion of the population lives in poverty. According to the Poverty Status Report – November 2014, 35.2% of the population in the mid North Region where Agago District is located, lives below the national poverty line (less than 1 $ per day) - against a national average poverty rate of 19.7% -, and 41.4 % are insecure, though not poor. Any unexpected event (e.g. bad harvest, sickness or death of one member of the family) can change the status of insecure non-poor people to poor.
Global warming has not spared the region: rains are erratic with an adverse effect on the agricultural output and nutritional status and overall well-being. While the monthly consumption per adult equivalent in Agago District is between 60,000 UGX and 80,000 UGX, in Kampala is more than 200,000 UGX. The poverty north-south gap in Uganda is still relevant. The District is still lacking a good road network. There are no tarmac roads and most are in poor maintenance conditions, occasionally disrupting routine field activities (transfer of patients for emergency care, immunisation campaigns, supervision of LLUs, home visiting) and adding extra costs to all transport activities. Telephone and internet connections are available but erratic and not fully reliable. Availability of power supply, although not constant and regular, has been nevertheless improving in the last years, at least in the major urban centres. Therefore, in the hospital electricity is provided 24 hours per day, mainly thanks to general electricity supply, with generators for backup.