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.
It was great to get back into clinical work in the hospital again, here in Kampala, Uganda at Mulago National Teaching and Referral Hospital. Yesterday I worked with both 3rd and 4th year pharmacy students, precepting them as they put their newly learned skills into practice taking care of patients on the Endocrinology Ward. I was so pleased to see great progress from when I was here just a month ago. Their confidence was improved as well as their pharmaceutical care skills and drug-disease knowledge. The course was able to continue, even in my absence due to the work of the Makerere Faculty and also the help of another 2 American volunteers, Susan and Joe, working with Healthcare Volunteers Overseas (HVO). They each came to Kampala for 3 weeks to work with the School of Pharmacy at Makerere University as well as help with the training of the Pharmacy Interns at Mulago Hospital. I was fortunate enough to find out about their plans ahead of time and with Richard Odoi’s approval, I started a conversation with Susan, even before her travels to Uganda, to let her know about the new PCSL curriculum for pharmacy students. I hoped she and Joe would be willing to help out teaching the new skills lab while I was away. Although this was Joe’s first trip to Uganda, Susan has actually been here and worked with Makerere University a number of times in the past but our paths hadn’t crossed until now.
In addition to working with the students, I was able to meet up again with Patrick and Vicky, the Pharmacists who had come to the USA for Pharmaceutical Care training with me a year ago, as well as several of the Interns I knew from before. It is so nice that I am beginning to feel comfortable and at home at Mulago Hospital. Since this is my 5th time working at the hospital over the past 2 years, I have seen many positive changes. More often pharmacists are working with physicians and they, along with the nurses are definitely more accepting of us on the medical wards. I think they are realizing that our whole goal is to improve patient care and working, as a team, each healthcare provider using our own unique abilities, is better for patients. We have a long way to go, but I am still completely optimistic that with the right support such as onsite mentoring of pharmacists by people like Joe, Susan, and me, and of course patience and time, the healthcare for patients at Mulago Hospital and ultimately in all of Uganda will be improved.