20 September 2016Today we went to Masindi-Kitara Medical Center (MKMC) for the first time this trip and were warmly greeted by the Staff. It was so great to see my friends! We spent the morning going on the hospital rounds with Vincent, one of the Clinical Officers. A Clinical Officer is comparable in training to the Physician Assistants in the USA. MKMC is a NGO, non-governmental organization, that is staffed entirely by Ugandan medial and business personnel but it is a joint effort between the Church of Uganda who gave the land and One World Health (OWH), which is a philanthropic organization in South Carolina, USA. I’ve been working with OWH since 2012, formerly known as Palmetto Medical Initiative, and they are a wonderful organization that is developing projects in low resources countries to “empower communities to achieve long term improvements in health and quality of life.” OWH raises funds for the buildings and infrastructure of the clincs and hospitals and obtains USA grants to grow the services that can be provided. The model is a fee for service one so that it can be self-sustaining for operational costs while providing good quality health care. The Ugandan government provides free health care for all Ugandans at their facilities but unfortunately this care is not often close to where people live and people may walk several kilometers to receive care. And then after they’ve waited in long lines, they may find the drugs are not available and so the next day they have to go to a different clinic. MKMC has a wait time of no more than 45 min and usually much less and provides good care and good quality drugs. They also have a Peace Corp Volunteer who does a lot of outreach programs to the community and local schools to teach them about preventative health including prevention of HIV and Malaria. Today the students saw a patient who had a bad reaction from a Scorpion bite, and several children with severe Malaria. They also, unfortunately, learned about how frequently children die during childbirth due to the Mother’s poor prenatal care or lack of seeking medical care soon enough when labor has gone on very long. This was very, very sad. We also saw a mother who was actively in labor with her first child and having lots of painful contractions. I asked the midwife if they ever teach breathing techniques to help the pain, like Lamaze classes that almost all American women go through before pregnancy, and she had never heard of such a thing. So, at the end of the day, we spent a lot of time looking up the answers to all of the questions generated during the ward rounds and will be presenting this information to the whole staff on Friday at a CME presentation.
This evening we had dinner with Janine, the health education missionary for the Church of Masindi. I have worked with her over the past several years to do blood pressure screenings at 2 of her churches. This trip, however, we won’t be in Masinid for a Sunday. Instead we hope to do a BP screening with the Church of Uganda in Kampala. But it was great to catch up with Janine. She is American but has lived in Uganda for 7 years and is able to answer a lot of the students questions about cultural differences between the USA and Uganda.