Our time in Masindi, Uganda is going really well so far. Today we spent all day at the Masindi-Kitara Medical Center (MKMC). MKMC was started by the Palmetto Medical Initiative from South Carolina to meet the healthcare needs of this small community and they continue to support the infrastucture (buildings) but the all of the staff are Ugandan and they operate using a fee for service model so the daily operating costs are self-sustainable. MKMC is a small clinic that has a 16 bed inpatient unit along with a 12 bed maternity ward, and a labor and delivery suite with a theater where they can do Caesarian sections and other surgeries (note: “theater” is the British name for an operating room that has been adopted widely throughout the world).
MKMC also has a busy outpatient clinic and with its own pharmacy. Today we arrived at the clinic by 8am so we could participate in the hospital inpatient rounds. It was extremely interesting and we loved that the clinical officer took the time to explain everything that he was doing. Most of the patients had malaria, but we get to see a healthy newborn baby and mom. Later on we split up and I spent the day in the pharmacy helping to dispense medications and learning about the drugs that are available here. MKMC will be the primary work site while in Masindi for the students. It is a really great place for them to learn and the staff is very open to collaborating as a team.
Life in Masindi is quite a contrast to Kampala. First of all it is a small town with one main road that runs through it. Off of this there are a few side roads where you can find numerous small shops. Today we visited the Quilt Shop that the Peace Corp volunteers helped some local tailors to start. Their work is very nice and I have been so happy with the beautiful quilt I bought last year that I just had to go back and get another one.
Another difference is that we stay in a hotel (The New Court View Hotel) where each individual room is its own banya (hut). They are self-contained, which means they have a bathroom with shower. We end up spending a lot of time outside as most of the prime eating areas areas are basically outside.
The porch you see is where we have breakfast and the hut is where we eat most of our lunches and dinners. We only go inside if it is raining really hard. Another great thing about the New Court View is that it is a local hangout and we run into many people we have met. I think one of the biggest difference is the lack of any traffic – no “jams” at all! We are also surrounded by beautiful green scenery.