HISTORY OF NURSING IN UGANDA
Sir Albert Ruskin Cook, CMG, OBE, MD (22 March 1870 – 23 April 1951 was a British born medical missionary in Uganda, and founder of Mulago Hospital and Mengo Hospital. Together with his wife, Katharine Cook (1863–1938), he established a maternity training school in Uganda.
Albert Cook was born in Hampstead, London in 1870. His parents were Dr. W.H. Cook and Harriet Bickersteth Cook. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1895 as a Bachelor of Medicine. He became a Doctor of Medicine in 1901.
In 1896, Albert Cook went to Uganda with a Church Missionary Society mission, and in 1897 he established Mengo Hospital, the oldest hospital in East Africa. He married Katharine Timpson, a missionary nurse, in 1900, with whom he had two daughters and a son.
Katharine Timpson, who later became Katharine, Lady Cook was matron of Mengo Hospital 1897–1911, and the General Superintendent of Midwives, and Inspector of Country Centres. She was involved in the foundation of the Lady Coryndon Maternity Training School and founded the Nurses Training College in 1931.
Sir Albert Cook is outstanding among medical missionaries for his efforts to train Africans to become skilled medical workers. He and his wife opened a school for midwives at Mengo and authored a manual of midwifery in Ganda, the local language. (Amagezi Agokuzalisa; published by Sheldon Press, London). Albert Cook started training African Medical Assistants at Mulago during the First World War, and in the 1920s, encouraged the opening of a medical College that initially trained Africans to the level defined by the colonial government as “Asian sub-assistant surgeon”. The school grew to become a fully-fledged Medical School in his lifetime.
Albert Cook established a treatment centre for the venereal diseases and sleeping sickness in 1913, which later became Mulago Hospital. He was President of the Uganda Branch of the British Medical Association (BMA) between 1914 and 1918, during which time he founded a school for African medical assistants. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1918, the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, and received knighthood in 1932. In 1936–37, he was again President of BMA (Uganda Branch).
Lady Cook died in 1938 and Sir Albert Cook died on 23 April 1951 in Kampala.