An Intersting Day in Masindi 

19 April 2017

This morning we arrived at Masindi-Kitara Medical Center (MKMC) and started to review our patients before ward rounds but then realized that it was Wednesday, the day MKMC has morning CME sessions (continuing medical education) so we quickly joined the staff for the presentation. Today they were learning about Nosocomial Infections. These are infections that patients sometimes get while in the hospital being treated for something else.  This is something we try very hard to avoid in the USA and it was really interesting to learn this is of concern in Uganda, too.  The topic was led by one of the Public Health Officer.  I loved his teaching style. Apparently he had asked groups of the staff to prepare different sections and called them up one at a time to do their part. He would write the points down on a white board so we could all see them. After all 4 groups presented, he then pulled it altogether and added some additional points. It was a very thorough discussion.

After Ward Rounds, Becky, one of the Wilkes University Students, had the opportunity to teach an elderly Ugandan woman how to use an Inhaler to help her breathe easier.  Teaching inhaler use is almost a daily activity for the pharmacy students at home during their regular clinical rotations but doing this in Uganda was quite a different experience. The woman didn’t speak English and at first, her attendant, said she didn’t speak English either. But, it turns out she understands it well, but just didn’t feel comfortable speaking it. Then the neighboring patient’s attendants got involved in helping to translate and encourage the woman to learn to use the inhaler. In addition, the photos of how to use the inhaler on the package insert were also very helpful.  In the end, the woman was able to demonstrate appropriate inhaler technique and she was really appreciative. With the help of the attendants, she was able to say “Thank you doctor”, which really touched us.

At the end of the day, we got together with John, a 4th year Pharmacy Student at Makerere University whom I have taught in the past. He has a job at Masindi District Hospital and was able to be in town this week so he invited us to come and visit Masindi Hospital.  It was really a pleasure to meet the staff he works with at the hospital. Sister Caningom Frances, the head Nursing Supervisor, welcomed us warmly by saying “You’re most welcome.” First we met with her in her office and signed the Visitors Book. This is a common cultural activity- whenever you visit someone in their business, you are asked to sign the visitors log.  Then Sister Frances gave us a tour of the entire facility. We got to see the Men’s, Women’s, Children’s, and Maternity Wards.  At each location, the nurse in charge welcomed us by saying “you’re most welcome” and was asked by Sister Frances to give us some information about the type of patients there and give us a tour. We were overwhelmed at the warm welcome by all we met.  At the end of the tour, when we were ready to leave, John said “let me give you a push”. This is the custom of walking you to the door and even if you say it isn’t needed, they really want to do it. I think it is a very nice custom!!

About kbohan

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
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