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.

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Thursday, January 23

Week 2 in Uganda!

What a day! We all hopped on Boda bodas in the morning with Michael from the clinic. We drove all around the Bududa loop, the road that connects the trading centers within our Bududa district. We visited two other clinics in the district, as well as the Bududa Regional Hospital. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the clinics, as I have been so far with our own clinic. Things seem well organized and it seems like there is decent access to care. There are pharmacies, maternal care, and immunizations available. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I think there has been national and international emphasis on increasing the quality of and access to community clinics, and you can really see the positive outcomes from this in these clinics.

Unfortunately, I did not have the same reaction to the regional hospital. The hospital is large. There are many wards: male, female, maternity, pediatric, operating theatre and an ER. For the entire hospital there are three doctors, but usually only one doctor in a given day. The wards are very simple; there are no private rooms, but instead one large room. There are not enough mattresses or IV poles, but they do seem to make sure they have the medications necessary for the patients. I was impressed with the staff I met there, but they just don't have the resources they really need to provide the care they want to. 

This was a powerful day for me, and eye-opening to the medical system in Uganda. I hope to keep having such powerful experiences!

Putting sunscreen on for the day:

Today was another day in the clinic for me in the morning, and then I traveled back to the hospital with another volunteer, another Michael, to arrange shadowing for us. It was another Boda Boda ride through this gorgeous country, and I loved it!  We came back to the clinic, and the afternoon was spent teaching community health workers how to take vital signs, so they could do that on their outreach trips to different villages. It felt like a really productive day.

Two other med students, Androuw and Carolina, made their way to the hospital in the afternoon as well, and attended a surgery, an inguinal hernia repair. They said it was a good experience to see the similarities and differences between surgery in the US and here in Uganda.

Another adventurous day! We took bodas to the village with the school for orphans I visited last week, Bushika. The building is constructed out of mud, and they are building another room for the fourth grade class. We spent the morning digging out the land for dirt for mud. We worked with one of the teachers, Hosaya, who explained that things like learning how to dig are an "informal education," which, especially in Bududa, can be as important as any "formal education" you would get at school. Within a couple hours we were all pretty good with our hoes!

The afternoon we spent in the clinic, and observed a group called Marie Stopes, who  travel around clinic to clinic to provide women's health services. They did many IUD and
 Implanon placements, but the most amazing was the tree tubal libations we observed. This is a surgery that in the US is done under general anesthesia in an operating room in a hospital. We watched them do these surgeries in an open air pavilion under local anesthesia... This means patients are awake for the whole procedure, and get up off the table and walk away immediately after it was done. It was completely amazing! 

Today I spent the whole day working with Kristen, a PA that has been here for three months. We saw kids all day, and it was a great day. Some of the other medical students traveled to the other clinic where Marie Stopes traveled for the day to observe more procedures, while others worked taking vitals, in the lab, and seeing adults. Overall a great day!

Today we will be touring the hospitals in Mbale, the biggest city close to us. I am curious to see how this hospital will compare to the regional one. 

This weekend we are traveling to the Sipi Waterfalls in Mt Elgon National Park, and we are looking forward to the arrival of a professor and OB/Gyn from MSU who will be working with us for the next two weeks!

Packing into the van: 

Monika and the LMU Uganda team

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