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.

Saturday, January 31

Nja Nja, Nuusu and the Nile

Hello Everyone!

After two weeks, we finally have access to Internet again! Everyone here in Uganda is safe and doing well. Since our last post, we have been busy working at the FIMRC clinic and conducting community outreach. On a daily basis, we help to staff the various stations of the FIMRC clinic. We usually have two students working with our chief medical officer, James, to see adults in the consultation room. Two more students will help our nurse, Irene, run the annex which tends to children. Other stations in the clinic include the lab (which runs blood smears, urinalysis, HIV testing, syphilis testing, etc), the dispensary, the maternal and child health clinic, and the weekly vaccination clinic. In addition to these stations, we are regularly involved in community outreach projects.

Yesterday, we set up a small mobile clinic at three different sites around the Bushika community in Bududa District. The first clinic was set up at the Bushika Junior Education Center where Irene, Stephanie, and I have been volunteering every Friday morning. Normally, we hold a weekly Girls' Empowerment Camp, however, since school just began for the semester, we opted to have the boys join us in conducting a general health check for all students. Our mobile clinic consisted of multiple stations. At the first station, students were greeted by Marsel who would ask them their age and would do a screen for any cuts requiring basic wound care. The second station provided the children with albendazole for deworming. In case you were wondering what "nja nja" means, it is the Lugisu word for "chew". After giving the children the albendazole tablets, we would make sure they had chewed them fully before moving onto the next station. Following the albendazole, all children were given a multi-vitamin and a sticker to track who had received medicine. Children with cuts requiring attention were pulled aside and given proper wound care. If we noticed that a child would benefit from further evaluation (for example, one child was noted to have scabies), we recommended that they visit the FIMRC clinic. After our visit to the Bushika Junior Education Center, we hiked to two more rural sites to provide similar care to adults and children in the community. Between these three sites, our group was able to provide care to 395 people in one day!

Our mobile clinic at the Bushika Junior Education Center. With this small set-up, we were able to provide de-worming medication, multivitamins, and basic wound care to 150 students!
A class at Bushika Junior Education Center lines up to visit our clinic
Group photo from the mobile clinic at Bushika Junior Education Center
(unfortunately Marsel's FIMRC shirt hasn't arrived yet)

In addition to our clinical work, we have also made time for some fun and relaxation! During our first weekend in Uganda, our group took a trip to Jinja to go whitewater rafting on the Nile River. Our adventure included dinner on a sunset river cruise, a full day of rafting, and a visit to the Jinja craft market.

Enjoying a river cruise on the Nile!

Our whole group ready for rafting! In this picture, we have our group of 6 MSU students along with Sally (our FIMRC field office manager), Jenny (our FIMRC intern), Sara F. (a volunteer nurse from CHOP), and Sara K. (a volunteer non-profit organization manager from California) 

Last weekend the group decided to stay in Bududa District. On Saturday, we attended the monthly Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) meeting. The OVCs are disadvantaged children from the Bududa District, most of whom are HIV positive, and have lost one or both parents. During this meeting, we spent time playing games with the children, discussing ways to improve drug adherence, and helping the children write out their goals for 2015. On Sunday, the group decided to tackle climbing Mount Nuusu, the mountain seen in the picture of our clinic from a previous post. We started our journey at 6:00am to avoid mid-day heat and spent about two and a half hours making the steep ascent to the top. Though the hike was exhausting, it was well worth the picturesque views! 

One of the many beautiful views from the top of Mount Nuusu

The group making their way down from the top of Mount Nuusu

This weekend, we have decided to spend a few days in the city of Mbale and enjoy access to hot showers and Internet! We will post more photos and send updates soon!

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