8 August 2022
I think I am showing my age with the title of this blog post. Who remembers that song? (produced by the band called the Bangles back in the 80’s) However, the title is fitting for today’s post. It was a fantastic day but a lot of “moving up and down” as my Ugandan drive, Haji, would say. Winnie and I started the day by attending a meeting at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences that was convened by the US Embassy and a visiting professor, Dr. Wing Kai from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, to have an open dialogue about how to attract more US Scholars and students from American Universities to your college. It was great to be able to participate in this forum. I got lots of ideas for my future trips with Binghamton students to Uganda. In addition, several Ugandan medical students spoke of valuable virtual experiences they have had with students from other countries and certainly that is even more doable. They spoke about how not many Ugandan students are able to go to the US for exchanges due to the cost but how equally valuable it is for them to learn from us in the US as for us to learn from the Ugandans. Makerere University hosted 60 American students last year but American universities only hosted 4 Ugandan- not a quite an equal exchange. Traveling abroad is a huge expense, even for US students, but Ugandans could learn so much and bring back those skills to help their own country. Helping to improve health care in Uganda is actually a way to improve the health of the world’s people. One only has to remember the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015 in Western Africa to remember how close we were to having Ebola cross the world. That is a pandemic you DO NOT want to have. Ebola is a disease with >50% mortality rate. COVID has been bad enough but it is not as lethal as something like Ebola. Ugandan are actually quite good with their public health and identifying and controlling outbreaks. But, they can always learn more and improve.
After that meeting we went to the pharmacy school where I met up with Kalidi and we drove downtown to make some exciting purchases. To enable our collaborative research, I helped them purchase a video conferencing system and TV for their new skills lab area. This will enable me and Dr. Erin Pauling (my Binghamton partner in this research) to participate in their pharmaceutical care skills lab training from the USA. It will also greatly improve our ability to have meetings. I teach an elective this fall, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is a course that also covers cultural aspects to health care and traditional medicine. Each year I have Ugandan students, faculty or pharmacists come into my class by zoom to teach the Binghamton students about how traditional medicines and herbs are used in health and healing in their culture. I can’t wait to have them join us from the new skills lab room with the video conferencing equipment!
After returning to campus with the AV equipment, the team met with the pharmacists and students who will be the actors in the pharmaceutical care training videos. We went over the hospital scenarios and review the community ones again. Tomorrow is the big day- we will go to film the videos at Extra Care Pharmacy in Gayaza, a village on the outskirts of Kampala. This is one of 2 pharmacies owned and run by my Ugandan friend, Gonsha Rehema. Gonsha is one of the pharmacist who came to study with me in the US back in 2015. She is an amazing business woman and pharmacist. I can’t wait to see her! I’m also really eager to see how these videos turn out.