Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ugandan Medicine

After almost 8 weeks in Uganda my view on medicine has shifted drastically. Through our research we have had the opportunity to spend time in a variety of clinics around Kabale and in the Kigezi region. Upon coming to Uganda I had the idea that we could improve Ugandan healthcare by implementing systems similar to ours in the U.S. However, I have witnessed there is no “right” way to practice medicine, and we have a lot to learn from the rest of the world. There are many diverse ways to practice medicine depending on the circumstances. The key is then to find the best practice in the place where you are.

In Uganda I have noticed many unique forms of medicine from the herbalists to the regional referral hospitals to the small, rural clinics. In the referral hospital we visited they had the capability to treat trauma cases, take x-rays, and perform surgeries using anesthesia. This hospital was similar to the type you would see in the U.S. On the other hand, the rural clinic headed by a nurse could provide simple out-patient curative services. Despite the amount of supplies or staff available, I have noticed a common theme among all of the healthcare settings in Uganda- the personal care is wonderful. Each health worker strives to help in the best way they can with what they have. They work long hours and rest very little (if at all) to ensure that each patient receives the best possible care. For example, one of the clinicians we met tirelessly works in the clinic six days each week for at least 12 hours each day. In addition, he is on call when he isn’t on site. I look at the Ugandan healthcare workers, and I admire them hoping to one day be just as hard working and compassionate as they are. They put their heart and soul into their work and are constantly battling obstacles of limited supplies, electricity, or funding. I can say with confidence we have a lot to learn from them and the selfless care they provide.
The beautiful view from one of the clinics looking onto Lake Bunyonyi



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