Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.
Please click the “Donate” link on the side for more details on how to give directly to these communities.
Tuesday, January 15
Uganda: First Few Days
It is the end of the rainy season here and with the dry season coming, our well is nearly dry. This means that we will soon start fetching water for daily use, including for our bucket baths that are currently supplied by the tap. Fortunately, this will not affect our toilet situation since we are already using a pit latrine.
As you might guess, many daily activities take much longer here than in the US. Procuring water involves carrying it some distance instead of turning on a tap. Clothes are washed by hand instead of in a washing machine. And everything is cooked from fresh ingredients. Even the coffee is grown and roasted here. It’s refreshing to feel connected to the earth in these ways. Connected to the water. Connected to our food. But it’s also time consuming, and we fortunately have Alice, who cooks, cleans, and washes our clothes for us.
This morning, after being woken up by the rooster who resides in our yard, we went to the clinic to unpack the supplies that we brought, meet the staff, and get a general feel for the layout of the clinic. The staff and patients were great. One patients’ husbands told Angela that she is small, but she has a biiiiig heart. The clinic is arranged into 5 stations. The patients check in at station 1, where general demographic and patient identification information is obtained. Vital signs are taken at station 2, and the clinicians see patients at station 3. Station 4 is the dispensary/pharmacy/injection/procedure room. This is where Justin got to irrigate a woman’s ear for a cerumen impaction (Angie ;) ). At station 5, the patients check out with a staff member who makes sure that they know how they are to take their medications and when they should follow up.
There is also a laboratory, where the technician does blood smears for malaria, HIV tests, urinalyses, and pregnancy tests, to name a few. A couple of highlights from our first day came from the lab. Erin was excited to see 2 blood smears under the microscope which were positive for malaria. Lynn’s favorite moment was when we were unpacking the supplies we brought.
Upon seeing the glucometers, the lab tech hugged her and thanked her for thinking of his department. And we pass that thank you along to everyone who has donated money and supplies for the clinic. We are grateful, but those who feel the pinch when supplies are short are even more thankful. Here are some stats on Uganda that we read on our way over: Average life expectancy: 39.5 years Under 5 mortality: 13.7% Access to safe water: 45% Access to electricity: 4% HIV rate: 8-10% (estimated) Primary school completion: 38% Secondary school enrollment: 13% Adult literacy: 65%