April 29, 2016
Our time in Uganda has drawn to a close. It is hard to believe we’ve been here for 4 weeks already- 2 in Kampala and 2 in Masindi. The work in each location is very different but both are equally rewarding. For me, the farewell is temporary because I already have my 10th and 11th trips planned for Sept 2016 and April 2017. The students may not return but you never know. Perhaps they will be interested in being Preceptors on a future trip to Uganda for their own students.
Today’s activities included the Baby Immunization Clinic again, which is clearly a highlight of the student’s trip.
On Wednesday, the students and I presented more CME topics (continuing medical education) to the staff at Masindi-Kitara Medical Center (MKMC). Makenzie and Kassi had prepared an Antibiotic Quiz to teach clinical pearls regarding antibiotic use. Lauren and Casey prepared a talk on management of Antepartum Hemmorhage (bleeding during pregnancy). This is definitely something they don’t learn in pharmacy school but there have been several patients admitted with this problem during our time at MKMC. So, they had to do some research in order to give a talk on this subject and they did a great job! I gave a talk on the management of Urinary Tract Infections. The latter 2 talks were ones that the staff had asked us to do, after last week’s CME. All were well-received.
One of the things that was different about our time in Masindi as compared to Kampala is that the Wilkes Pharmacy students didn’t have a Pharmacist or Pharmacy students to work with at MKMC, as they had in Kampala. But I think each of these experiences teaches them different things. In Kampala, they clearly had a role in modeling pharmacist behavior and they were able to mentor the Ugandan Pharmacy Interns and teach them new skills. But although they didn’t work with Pharmacists at MKMC, they still helped the clinical staff, both Nurses and Physicians and Clinical Officers (like PA’s in the USA) to learn new skills. In this resource-limited setting, they can’t afford to hire a Pharmacist right now and the law doesn’t require it so they have to use the Nurses to dispense medications. The Clinicians don’t have a Pharmacist to work with them on Ward Rounds all the time. So both of these groups of people need to learn “pharmacy-type” of information on their own so they can best serve their patients. Every time I come to MKMC with students, we help to advance the knowledge and the skills of the Clinicians. The Wilkes Pharmacy students may not think they are “doing that much to help” since they aren’t working with Pharmacists, but what they may not realize is that their impact is really significant!
Thank you to all of our collaborators and all of the healthcare sights where we were able to volunteer! It was another fantastic trip and I hope that there will be many more in the future. And I hope that I will soon be having new American collaborators to expand the work here in Uganda. More on that as things develop.
We are off to Queen Elizabeth National Park tomorrow for our end of the experience Safari. It is a reward for all of the hard work by the students and they definitely deserve it. It is a well-earned time of relaxation where they will discover the hidden beauty of animals in the wild and a geography that we don’t have in the USA and they will likely experience the “Circle of Life”.