Our trip to Uganda wasn’t advertised as a medical trip, but when our team formed, we realized we had a doctor, 2 nurses, and 2 pharmacists in our group, and thought it would be great to incorporate medicine into our trip. Fortunately, a physician and his family moved to Restoration Gateway in January, and “Dr. Colby” was eager to set up 2 days of medical clinics for our team in the surrounding area.
The first clinic day was hosted by Bonne, a local government official. Bonne welcomed us to his home, and allowed us to take over each of his huts: one for each doctor and one for the pharmacy.
In order to stream-line our work, the pharmacy also included a “phlebotomy lab” where we did HIV & Malaria tests…once we figured out how to run them…
Though we didn’t see as many patients the first day, some of the people we saw were very ill, like this little boy who only recently started having multiple seizures a day.
There aren’t too many seizure meds available in Uganda, but we were able to send Tony & Alex out to get whatever we needed from the market pharmacies, like this one. No prescriptions needed.
Bridget was also able to do some surgery, working to remove a softball-size lipoma from a woman’s shoulder. Yes, that’s in a hut by lantern & headlamp.
In between patients, some of the non-medical staff were free to play soccer.
…or just play around…
Day 2 we set up our clinic in a church building in Karuma. Many more people showed up, so it was “all hands on deck” to triage, test, and treat everyone.
In the pharmacy/phlebotomy lab we did about 50 HIV and Malaria tests. At the risk of passing out, I stayed to the pharmacy side of things, but did come in to provide comfort when needed. Every time we had to test a child, they would start crying even before the finger prick – a sight that made us all want to cry.
One of the best parts of our day in Karuma was when school let out and all the kids immediately ran up the hill to check out our clinic. To those of us inside, we realized the school day was over when our windows filled with the curious children.