Ugandan Pharmacists First Impressions of the USA

This in not an official U.S. Department of State (DOS) blog and the views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the DOS.

The rainy season is apparently here in Uganda!  And everyone seems to be very happy about it. I can say that the weather has substantially cooled down and the dust isn’t flying anymore, but has been replaced with lots of red mud.  Today I had to walk to the pharmacy school in the rain but my LLBean rain coat really helped.  I didn’t even think to bring an umbrella because they are sort of cumbersome. But, I survived.  The good thing is that the electricity was on by the time I got to the building (had to get dressed in the dark today) and it has been on all day.  I guess they must have fixed the transformer.  Tomorrow I’m taking a road trip- a long bus ride (4-5 hours) to a town north east of here, Mbale.  I met a women named Irene my first time to Uganda. She worked for the Water Trust (TWT) and was my translator and right-hand woman. We spent a lot of time together and have kept in touch ever since.  She no longer works for TWT because she got married and moved away. She now has a 3 month old son.  I didn’t get to see her during my trip in Oct 2013 so I am taking a bus to see her tomorrow. Fortunately, her sister, Barbara, is going to come with me and help me navigate the bus system.  It should be an experience and I hope to post some pictures of a new place tomorrow or Sunday.  I hear the buses don’t have bathrooms, although they look like the American buses, so it will be interesting…..A 4-5 hour ride….

Vicky and Patrick outside their housing in Wilkes-Barr, PA

Vicky and Patrick outside their housing in Wilkes-Barr, PA

Now some First Impressions of the USA in Vicky and Patrick’s own words:


“The weather was cold, extremely cold compared to our tropical sunny weather although I went to school in Russia but the cold feels new every winter.  We use centigrade (o C) as the unit of measure for temperature in the Uganda unlike in the USA were Fahrenheit (o F) is widely used. Reconversion of the temperature into a unit that made sense to me wasn’t easy in the beginning. The roads have no potholes they are smooth and well maintained and have more lanes than in Uganda. I had not seen tollbooths ever, not even in Russia; it was interesting. Maybe governments should adopt that so as to collect revenue to support the road prepares. We drive on the left hand side totally the opposite thing in the USA.

A typical community pharmacy was way bigger than in Uganda and I was amazed that pharmacist offer immunization services we don’t offer in Uganda. Got a flu shot, we don’t have that in Uganda, I guess the government is struggling to look for money to cure infections and the flu is not one of those priority conditions they worry about. I also loved the idea that a pharmacy won’t open unless there is a pharmacist in the premises. In Uganda we have a nurse covering a pharmacist at the community pharmacy because there is a small number of pharmacists in the country about 600 and they have to supervise 2 pharmacies so as to bring health care closer to the community. The current population in Uganda is approximately 35 million people.”


“The first impression was that the Americans are amazingly hospitable. The road network is excellent with minimal traffic compared to the ones in my home country.  During the first week, we attended ward rounds every morning with clinicians at Wilkes Barre General Hospital (WBGH). I also did the online CPR training then a practical assessment at the nursing department which I passed and I received a certificate.”  My strongest learning points this first week were that I appreciated the different goals of therapy and pharmaceutical care plan formatting and rational drug use. At this point in time I realized I had to improve on my ability to quickly look for relevant resource materials which I would use the following week.”

Vicky and Patrick outside of an American Mall

Vicky and Patrick outside of an American Mall



About kbohan

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
This entry was posted in Fulbright Specialist Project, Ugandan Pharmacists in the USA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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