April 8, 2016
Today was an excellent day! I started the day by attending a Physician’s meeting at a small, private, faith-based hospital, Mengo, in Kampala. Carole, the Director of Pharmacy, had asked if I would present a talk about Pharmaceutical Care to the Medical Staff so they would better understand how a pharmacist can work as a healthcare team member to enhance patient care. I met Carole last year and spent some time with her Pharmacy Interns rounding and teaching them back in September. I had also given a talk to a small group of clinicians. Before I left, I encouraged the Interns to continue the work we started and round on the wards with the doctors. But, apparently some of them were feeling like they weren’t welcome on rounds so Carole thought a presentation to the Physicians would be helpful. I couldn’t agree more with her insight. We had talked about this by email months ago but somehow we never scheduled it due to an email malfunction. So I didn’t actually find out that I was doing the presentation until the day before. Fortunately, I had some old slides I could modify and I am so passionate about this anyway, I could talk about it off the cuff at anytime.
The meeting turned out to be a mandatory for the medical staff and it was very well-attended. Almost all of the physicians and some nurses and pharmacists were present. The formality and cordiality of meetings here in Uganda never ceases to amaze me. In the USA, most meetings are rather casual. There is an agenda and minutes to approve, and a chair, but other than that, the conversation is informal. For example, most of the meetings I’ve attended here start with prayer. Then for this meeting they reviewed the “apologies”. That was a reading of the people who had informed the Chair that they would be absent from this meeting. They reviewed the agenda to see if everyone agreed with it. Then we heard opening remarks by the 2 head physicians with Q&A. Then, I was asked to present. I kept to my 15min but they were very engaged and kept me answering questions much longer. The talk was well-accepted and the Deputy Director agreed at the end that Pharmacists becoming more active in direct patient care and collaboration with other healthcare professional is important to their mission to be a “Center of Excellence”. I think one reason my presentations are so effective, is that since this is my 9th trip to Uganda, I have become to understand a lot of the nuances of the healthcare challenges they face. In addition, I’ve seen many patients and directly worked with them and other healthcare practitioners and I can use this experience as my examples. So I am not another foreigner coming to Uganda to tell them how much better things work in the USA, giving them ideas and procedures that aren’t possible to implement here. Instead I really try to focus on what will work and is doable. The students and I are planning to work at Mengo Hospital 2 days next week to model pharmaceutical care and interact with the patients to help identify possible drug therapy problems.
I spent the rest of the day at the pharmacy school. I had an appointment to talk with my primary and original collaborator, Professor Richard Odoi, but once I was back, I ran into many of my Faculty friends and students and got into many conversations. When I did meet with Professor and then Kalidi, another faculty who joined us, we were able to jump deep into a planning session for the way forward in growing this program just as if I’d been here daily for months. I certainly ended my day on a “high”. It’s good to be back in Uganda!
You may be wondering where the students have been since they weren’t mentioned. They have become well-adapted to Mulago hospital and have met and worked with many interns now so I gave them their freedom to meet up with the Interns and figure out their work plans for the day. I checked on them by text during the day and all was well, as I expected. In fact, they all managed to have adventures of their own which Casey will tell you about soon.