Last Days in Uganda

I’m writing this post from the beautiful Entebbe Airport Guesthouse.  I have arranged for our group to stay here tonight since we have an early flight out of Uganda tomorrow.  I had the opportunity to stay here last year for the same reason and the accommodations, food, and staff were so inviting I decided to make it an annual event when I travel to Uganda.  Once you enter the gates of the complex, it feels like an Oasis from the noise and bustle of the busy road from Kampala to Entebbe.  The flowering plants are as colorful as the many bird songs that fill the courtyard.

Last night was our final one in Kampala. We celebrated the meeting of new friends as we gathered for a meal together at a restaurant called Piato.  The group included faculty and staff from Makerere Pharmacy School, faculty and students from D’Youville College School of Pharmacy in New York and the Wilkes Pharmacy School group.  D’Youville had just arrived last Sunday and I was so happy that it just was coincidence that our trips overlapped.  

This gave us an opportunity to meet and talk over all I had learned in the past 4 weeks about pharmacy practice in Uganda and develop future plans for a joint effort to assist Makerere and Uganda in developing and implementing Pharmaceutical Care practice for pharmacists.  We all had a delicious meal.

Then this morning, we all met again with

the Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda and several other pharmacist members to learn more about the regulations regarding pharmacy practice in Uganda and talk over their current plans for implementing Pharmaceutical Care.  It really gets me excited to hear their passion for advancing the care that pharmacists provide in Uganda.  By the end of the meeting we all agreed that we will continue these talks and figure out how Wilkes and D’Youville can assist the PSU and Makerere in this process.  Personally, I hope that I can find a grant to get back here in less than a year so together we can develop and pilot a small scale project that will give us more information about how to proceed with changes to both the undergraduate pharmacy curriculum as well as how to train already licensed pharmacists so that the practice sites can be further developed.  It is important to develop some level of provision of pharmaceutical care in practice sites (hospitals and community pharmacies) with already licensed pharmacists simultaneous with curricular changes because experiential training within the program is necessary so that upon graduation students will have developed and practiced the skills they will use in their jobs.  In other words, they will be ready to go and fully trained.

Although I am sad that my time in Uganda has come to an end, I see only great hope for the future ahead for this collaboration and I am confident that I will soon be planning my next trip back here.  In the meantime, we will keep in close contact via email and continue the discussions we’ve started.

Many thanks to all who have guided me and my students during this trip and have let us be changed by working with you-  Makerere University School of Pharmacy Faculty, Administrative staff, and students; Pharmacists and Pharmacy Interns at Mulago National Referral Hospital; the Secretary and Pharmacists of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda; the staff and program director of The Water Trust; the staff and medical officers and other healthcare professionals at TASO-Masindi (The Aids Support Organization); the manager and volunteers of the Masindi Branch of the Uganda Red Cross; and the administrative staff, medical officers, and other healthcare professionals at Masindi Kitara Medical Center.  It was great fun and a wonderful learning experience!

I’d like to give a final thanks to the Wilkes pharmacy students who accompanied me on this trip.  Their excellent work ethic, knowledge and skills were instrumental in getting this first Global Health APPE rotation off to a good start. And the many long discussions we had were really helpful in figuring out what could be done to help implement pharmaceutical care in Uganda.

Oh, don’t worry, this blog doesn’t end here…I still have many more entries yet to come with more animal pictures from Murchison (one entry will be a special on birds) and I will continue to chronicle this program as I move forward to develop plans to work again in Uganda at Makerere and Mulago Hospital to work towards Pharmaceutical Care implementation.

About kbohan

Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
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4 Responses to Last Days in Uganda

  1. W says:

    Karen, this whole blog and photos have been a real highlight for me each day. (This kinda tells you how exciting my life is!). So glad the trip was such a fine success. ,Looking forward to hearing more about all your great experiences at Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful time in Paris with Jeff.
    Love, Mom

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  2. Winnie Nambatya says:

    IT was really nice having you at Makerere Univesity and at the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda

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  3. Sonali Patel says:

    Hello! I am a second year pharmacy student at the University of Kentucky and have been looking for rotation sites in Africa for my fourth year. Our college does not have any sites in Africa, so I was looking for what other schools have done. Would you be able to help me out, or point me in the right direction?

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    • Hi Sonali, Thanks for the comment! I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you. The short answer to your inquiry is that I am actually planning on expanding my program to take students from other schools. Right now I’m doing that when I can’t fill the spots with Wilkes’ students but in the future, maybe by your P4 year, I will be able to have many more participate. This fall, Sept 2013, I am bringing 2 Wilkes’ students and 1 student from D’Youville College in NY. It actually takes quite a bit of work to set up experiential rotations in other countries along with a faculty member who has a passion for this kind of work which is probably why not all colleges are able to do it. Since I know that is likely, one of the goals for my project is to extend the opportunity to other colleges of pharmacy- not only to their students but also to their faculty. This goal is a bit farther off, but keep in touch with me. If you want to pursue the idea of participating in my program, then the first step would be for you to talk to your Experiential Director. Perhaps lead she/he to my blog so he/she can become familiar with what I’m doing and then have she/he contact me directly so we can start a conversation about how it might be possible for you. I can’t give you any guarantees at the moment about where the project will be in a couple of years, but letting your Experiential Director know about your interests would be the best way to start. If my program doesn’t work out, perhaps she/he may know of others. I do know of 2 others but I’m not sure if they take students from other schools: Purdue University and Philadelphia College of the Sciences Pharmacy School. Take care. Dr. Bohan

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