Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A biology major who established a nonprofit organization to benefit a hospital in her native Uganda will throw the first pitch before Saturday evening’s Los Angeles Angels-Houston Astros game at Angel Stadium for UC Irvine Night.

After reading an article in 2013 that Atutur Hospital had no running water, limited electricity, lacked basic supplies and overflowed with patients, Lydia Natoolo knew she had to help, then started the nonprofit organization Love A Community.

Natoolo traveled to the hospital to examine the conditions. She discovered the operating room had rotten walls, the electricity was sporadic and basic supplies were lacking.

Natoolo tested for pathogens in Atutur Hospital’s water sources and found that seven of eight sources were contaminated. She raised $17,000 for a new water system, which decreased the hospital’s mortality rate to 2 percent from 19.5 percent.

Natoolo next raised $20,000 for solar panels, providing a reliable source of power for part of the hospital.

Love A Community is raising funds to provide Atutur Hospital with a backup generator, a key item in any hospital, due to the potentially life- threatening consequences of a power outage for patients on life-support systems, undergoing surgery and in neonatal intensive care units.

“The question we ask every day is how do we connect the vast stock of ingenuity, passion and concern on campus to the challenges of poverty alleviation through rigorous and impactful research and education programs,” said Richard Matthew, director of the UC Irvine Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation.

“Lydia is the exemplar of a student animated by ingenuity, passion and concern. By working with her, we are learning about how to support her incredible energy and sense of purpose, about how to make that connection between the immense resources of the university and the urgent needs of our society.”

—City News Service

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