Edit Blog Post
Published: July 11th 2016
July 10, 2016
Agandi! - Hello, how are you?
Week seven?! I had to check the calendar to be sure myself but yes we have in fact completed our seventh full week in Uganda and a busy one at that. The week kicked off with two days spent working on the paediatrics ward at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital where I am spending the majority of my time during our six week clinical rotation. The paediatrics ward is adjacent to the nutrition centre at MRRH which is logical as a large percentage of the children admitted are malnurished to some degree. The first few days last week spent on the ward were an adjustment as I had no previous clinical experience and had only ever read about the signs and symptoms of malnutrition in a textbook. So far much of my time has been spent observing while learning how patients are managed. Fortunately there are around six other nutrition interns from universities within Uganda that are currently doing their clinical placements and seem willing to show us how things are handled. Those who are admitted for malnutrition are categorized as severe acute and are strictly administered a diet of milk formula fed every two hours. Once their weight stabilizes they are moved over to the nutrition centre where they are given a slightly different formula until they once again begin gaining weight after which they are discharged with an allotment of ready to eat therapeutic food similar to Reese's Pieces but with a much more beneficial nutrient profile. During their stay at the nutrition centre the child's caregivers are counselled on how to properly prepare food for their children ensuring they get adequate energy and nutrients. Unfortunately for many, the combination of large family size and limited resources that many families have available makes it difficult to keep everyone adequately fed let alone differentiate for the diets of young children. As such, if the child themselves does not once again become malnurished, there is a good chance that a future sibling will. Despite these difficulties, I have found it is important to keep a positive mindset while around the kids in order to keep their morale high. It has been fun to interact and play with them whenever possible!
Wednesday and Thursday of this week were spent at a nearby mission hospital where we conducted a nutrition clinic for health workers and the general public led by our Ugandan colleague interns. We used anthropometric measurements to assess their nutritional status and then administered counselling based on their needs. Interestingly we found that many of the individuals, health care workers especially, were on the opposite end of the spectrum from the undernourished children and therefore required counselling on the risks of developing chronic diseases associated with obesity such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension among others. Fortunately given my background in Kinesiology, this is an area that I am significantly more experienced and as such felt as though I could contribute substantially more. The biggest barrier the Canadian interns faced was similar to that of the rural community setting where communicating in another language can often present challenges. Still the two days were very beneficial and I was fortunate to have learned a lot.
This past weekend was our first spent reunited with all twelve as a group since the Week One Orientation and it was a dandy. After two intense weeks working in the hospital and surrounded by the hustle of Mbarara Town, we took a two hour drive to spend the weekend at a resort on Lake Bunyonyi. Both the resort and the lake itself were fantastic. The lake is actually formed from craters and claims to be the deepest in Uganda at nearly 6500 feet. Activities included hiking and swimming as well as a boat cruise to check out the many islands where we managed to see zebras and impalas. I was even talked into jumping off the ten metre high diving platform attached to a somewhat unsturdy tree overlooking the lake. I won't dwell on the insignificant details of how long it took me to work up the courage to jump but will say it was quite an adrenaline rush - next up may have to be bungee jumping at the source of the Nile River where we will spend some of our last days on safari before leaving Uganda in mid August. Other activities we have planned in the coming weeks include a trip to a nearby infinity pool which according to some of the other group members has quite the view, and potentially a trip to the capital city Kampala before leaving on safari August 5th. Toss in a few more awareness clinics on nutrition and cervical cancer as well as our work at the hospital and it should be a busy few weeks! I'm looking forward to it. Until next time, Webare - Thank you!
Tot: 0.038s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 9; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0095s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb