Blogs from Uganda, Africa


Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara August 1st 2019

Hi All, I have spent the last two weeks in Mbarara volunteering in the emergency department at the government-run Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. I was fortunate enough to experience such a breadth of cases in such a short time. I saw all kinds of emergencies and realized that, although tropical diseases can be so different from western ones, the types of cases that present in the emergency department are very similar. There was a lot of trauma (mostly from boda boda accidents or mob justice), overdose, burns, stroke, hypertensive crisis, and the like. I felt comfortable and useful in surgical emergency because it was highly procedure-based. While speaking very minimal Runyankole, I am able to perform procedures but taking a history or constructing a differential diagnosis with physicians proved difficult due to the language barrier. I ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 31st 2019

Hello Bloggers, Friends, and Family, I am no longer going to apologize for my tardiness when it comes to uploading blogs, as I have come to terms with who I am as a person. This past few weeks have been absolutely amazing, I have been working on the maternity unit at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, mainly in the labour suite and antenatal ward. These two areas of the ward are for women prior to active labour and then active labour. So I have been doing so much baby cuddling, since beginning on the labour ward I have helped deliver roughly 25 babies. I have been able to be part of 2 successful infant resuscitations. The first was a preterm infant at 32 weeks, he was so tiny but his little heart was beating so hard, ... read more
Sister Peruth and I
The sisters and I

Africa » Uganda July 31st 2019

I finished up my last week in Rugazi and have completed our two-week rotation at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. I worked in the Toto and Natasha wards (malnutrition) as well as Pediatric Admissions and Outpatient Department. The latter two were definitely my favourite as I enjoyed listening to the differentials and learning more about the Ugandan healthcare system. One case that stood out to me was a jaundice baby that was born with a defective liver. The doctor in the room informed me that organ transplants are not done in Uganda so the mother would have to take the baby to another country, which she likely could not afford, and thus the baby was going to die. The following week one of the nutrition students and myself gave an impromptu nutrition talk on hypertension in ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 21st 2019

Agandi! Warning: extra long post ahead, to make up for the ever-growing gaps between posts. And Happy National Ice Cream Day! Technically it's an American thing, but I'm going to unofficially declare it as an international holiday as additional justification for my ice cream intake. ;) We've been all over the place these past couple of weeks--first to Kampala, then Gulu, then back to Kampala, and coming "home" to Mbarara last Monday. We got scooped up into some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into our supervisors' research with adolescent nutrition and sexual/reproductive health and rights (SRHR). We sat in on some meetings with representatives from BRAC international (an organization that actively promotes and provides opportunities for the empowerment of women), and various universities and hospitals. It was very interesting to talk to the public health ... read more
Mulago Malnutrition Ward
The Kampala Team
Hospital, Here we Come!

Africa » Uganda July 17th 2019

We spent a total of three weeks in Rugazi with the Ugandan students. We were split into two groups as we were 9 Canadian students and 11 Ugandan students. We were paired up with two medical students from the University of Saskatchewan. In the mornings we spent our time working in the clinic and the afternoons we worked on our community projects. We chose health education of UTIs and menstrual health for our two projects. Our interventions for the UTI project included health talks in a school with about 150 students present, a health talk in the community and also in the outpatient department. During these talks, we covered common signs and symptoms, causes, prevention, and complications. Every audience was very receptive and were eager to participate and ask questions. The students were very engaged and ... read more
The girls showing off their homemade pads

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP July 17th 2019

It’s me again! I am not on the road to Kampala, but I still need to catch up on my blogging. My last post finished when I returned to Rugazi to begin our community placement (the real deal this time). Divided into the groups Rugazi A and B, twenty of us packed into a MUST bus and sped down the speed-bump-riddled roads to the Rubirizi district (we call our roadtrips African massages since you get shaken up pretty well). Upon arrival, we realised had no running water again. No big deal, because it will come back on right away right? Not so this time, and our custodian/babysitter (because we’re clueless as babies) Martin recruited the guys haul 20L jerry cans for our water needs. This is when I learnt the interesting way that Ugandans close their ... read more
Our banana caps
Latrine squad

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 16th 2019

Hi everyone! The last week has been jam packed with travel across the country in a giant green mystery machine-esque van. This week has been filled with emotional lability. It began when we had to leave Rugazi and I had to say goodbye to what had become my Ugandan family. Leaving the health workers, community members, and Ugandan students that we had lived with for the last month proved more difficult than I expected. Then our supervisors picked us up to travel to Kampala and Gulu to administer preliminary surveys and attend meetings for their research project on health-seeking behaviours in adolescent girls. We stayed in relatively lavish accommodations and ate at fancy restaurants; this incited waves of guilt. I left people I cared about and who grew to care about me, for what? To live ... read more

Africa » Uganda July 16th 2019

I have spent the past week reflecting on my time in Rugazi. We lived in Rugazi for a month and it was filled with many opportunities. There were many firsts for me: observing and providing health care in a third world country with limited supplies and lack of diagnostics, lack of running water and using pit latrines rather than toilets. But there were so many positives in Rugazi, I learned so many things, and gained so many new perspectives. In regards to the health center, I witnessed for the first time patients having to go without medications due to lack of resources. I saw newborns go without vitamin k injections due to lack of syringes. I observed midwives having to prioritize the care of newborns due to only one warmer and one oxygen machine. The laboring ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Mbarara July 8th 2019

Good morning! I am writing from the road between Mbarara and Kampala. These past weeks have been filled with adventures, and I’ve done a poor job at keeping up with my blog. However, in the spirit of keeping a faithful recollection of my trip, I will make a blog post for every week I’ve missed. Since I will be on the road these next few days as we travel between Kampala, Gulu, and Mbarara, I will have plenty of time and no excuse to avoid blogging. The funny thing is that I enjoy writing and I am always so satisfied when I post a blog. But I always want to add so much detail to my posts, making the writing process quite time-consuming. And so I stop writing because I’d rather be doing other things. Last ... read more
Happiest moment of the day
Our tumor fruit
The best (worst) kept secret of MUST

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala July 7th 2019

Agandi! Where to start? So much has happened in so little time. We have finished our community placement and now we are off to Kampala for a couple days to make some "site visits". We're not entirely sure what that entails, but we are trusting that our supervisors will make it a meaningful and memorable time. :) Yesterday we returned to Mbarara to spend the night before continuing the journey to the capital. Saying good-bye to the Rugazi community was difficult to say the least. for once we actually left on (Canadian) time, which was unexpected and made the hugs and teary good byes feel all the more abrupt. Even in spite of language/cultural differences and the short amount of time we spent in Rugazi, the people and the circumstances they face have affected us deeply ... read more
Afripads for All!
Pad-making Partay
Our Parting Gift

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