I was able to spend my 1st few days in Uganda at the Uganda Cancer Institute working with a pharmacist, pharmacy technicians, doctors, nurses, and medical students. For my first two days there I worked in the outpatient pharmacy with their pharmacy technician Michael. He helped me learn their process for record keeping, medication dispensing, writing chemotherapy orders for the mixing room, and patient counseling. Prescriptions we received varied from chemotherapy to malaria treatment. There was never a point in the day that there was not a line of patients, so it was very busy. Although they have a small selection of medications, everything they fill is free for the patients. If we did not have it in stock, we would send the patient to another pharmacy where they would have to pay for the medicine. I counseled some patients on how to take oral morphine, bowel regimens, and different antibiotics.
On my first day there I also went to a research presentation on cisplatin-induced ototoxicity. It was great to see an example of the research projects their master’s students are completing. In the meeting everyone gave constructive feedback on how to improve her project.
On my third day there I had the opportunity to go into the mixing room and actually make chemotherapy for the inpatient ward and infusion center. In the picture I just got done mixing some cyclosporine for the infusion center. Their pharmacist Benjamin has worked hard to get their chemo room up to high standards, as you can see it looks identical to what we have in the US.
Later on that day I was able to meet up with Dr. Kayaja and his medical team to finish rounds in the solid tumor inpatient ward. I participated with the medical students to stage a new patient’s cancer and choose her chemotherapy regimen, as well as learn about different patient cases.
On my last day I was able to work with Dr. Victoria in their outpatient clinic. Here I learned a lot about Kaposi’s Sarcoma since about 60% of the patients that came in that day had it. She also had some patients with breast cancer, leukemia, Burkitt’ s lymphoma and Wilm’s tumor. In the clinic I was able to help calculate chemotherapy doses and provide information about side effects. My short time at UGI was a great learning experience. I hope some day to come back to see all of the people I have worked with that have become my friend, learn more, and help to advance patient care.