February 5th, 2017 by INMED
One of my four weeks at Kiwoko Hospital in central Uganda is already gone! I arrived last weekend and after spending 1 day in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, I traveled north to Kiwoko. The staff and guests at Kiwoko have all be incredibly friendly and welcoming, making me feel right at home from the start.
The Kiwoko Hospital is organized under the Church of Uganda with support from several European physicians who are here long-term and many others who come periodically. There are also Ugandan surgeons and intern physicians in addition to midwives, nurses, lab staff, pharmacists, etc. The hospital has outpatient clinics including specialty clinics for sickle cell disease, diabetes, HIV, antenatal care, and dentistry; wards for men, women, and children; a beautiful maternity ward with space for antenatal and postnatal patients in addition to labor and delivery; an even more beautiful NICU that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a hospital in the developing world; and two operating rooms. Days typically begin with a prayer and worship service at the neighboring nursing school before the physicians meet together for handoff from the night shift and teaching. After that, everyone splits up to do ward rounds and whatever else needs to be done for the day.
Because of my interest in OB/GYN, I spent this whole week on maternity. There is a Dutch OB/GYN here long-term as well as a visiting Irish OB/GYN here for 6 weeks. I had the chance to work with the midwives (including my first twin delivery) and assist in several C-sections in the OR. I also rounded on postoperative and postpartum patients with the team (and the fantastic Ugandan nurses and midwives as translators). It was a busy first week and a great chance to observe how things are done here.
I’ve been especially struck by how much the physicians here are jacks of all trades. Because there are so few of them, in order to manage the call schedule, the 2 surgeons are each on call for a whole week, every other week. The others cover the rest of the hospital (adult and pediatric inpatient, NICU, and maternity, including C-sections) for the nights and weekends that they are on call. I have previously looked at anything delaying my ability to come back and serve as a physician in Africa as a frustration; after just one week here, I perceive these delays as an opportunity to strengthen my training and knowledge so that I will be better prepared to serve when the timing is right. This will make me a better physician, a better colleague, and a better version of myself (more confident, less anxious). I look forward to what I will learn in the coming weeks!