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Play for Health at the Uganda Cancer Institute

Posted on 27 October 2021

Last week Play Action International completed a project at the Uganda Cancer Institute. Our team built a playground and delivered the Play for Health training course to medical staff working there.

The Play for Health course is designed for medical professionals to use the power of play to help hospitalized children’s recovery and healing. Play allows children to express themselves and learn about the world around them, which is compromised in the hospital setting. Play helps us to better understand children’s needs and feelings, as it allows emotional release and expression of feelings and desires.

Medical staff are left with practical skills and play techniques to help reduce hospital anxiety and make the patient’s journey less intimidating, increased confidence in comforting parents and siblings, and an appreciation of the power of play in hospital settings.

The playground at the centre will give children the opportunity to reconnect with themselves and their childhoods at a time when they need it most. While all play is beneficial to child development, outdoor play is the one most lacking in hospital setting. Hospitals are ridden with unnatural lighting, strange noises, and unfamiliar people; outdoor play spaces offer therapeutic respite for hospitalized children. Playing outdoors in the sun amongst nature is familiar, comforting, educational, therapeutic and fun for children. It improves mental health, physical development and social development.

We are looking forward to delivering Play for Health in many more medical settings in Uganda and beyond! Thank you to the Brian Mercer Trust for awarding us the grant which allowed us to deliver this project, Play Action International and the Uganda Cancer Institute are forever grateful. Also a special shout-out to Dr Lavan Baskaran who contributed to the writing of the Play for Health course, thank you so much for your continued support of Play Action International!