March 28th, 2022 by Kaitlyn Hite
Posted in Uncategorized|
Today I depart from Kiwoko. It is really difficult to summarize the past month, and it would probably do my time injustice to try to do so in one blog post. I have started some reflection on my time, however, and plan to continue to reflect as I transition back to the United States. Some things that I have reflected on include difficulties that arose that I was not expecting. This ranged from difficult medical decisions to realizing two weeks in that people don’t start to actively listen to you unless you have exchanged pleasantries first. Once I started asking how peoples’ days were and greeting them (which took less than 20 seconds), I received my requested assistance or other such matter I was hoping to discuss with the individual. This is a huge contrast to the US were I feel everyone is trying to get off the phone before they even get on it (if you know what I mean). I have also been thinking about health equity which is a hot topic in the US and one that is even more apparent here even though it is not discussed much. The many faceted medical system here illustrates the disparities. There are government hospitals which are not invested in and, therefore, may not provide the best care for the patient compared to private hospitals that are usually owned by foreign companies and provide excellent patient care but are extremely costly and out of reach economically for many Ugandans. The mission hospitals try to fill in the gap between and “level the playing field” so to speak for accessing healthcare, but there is still a strong tie between poverty and illness that is visible to anyone who visits these communities. Lastly, while all decisions in medicine require a holistic view of the person, that holistic view here is much wider and deeper than I have encountered prior. For example, the hospital would love to have equipment such as ventilators and laparoscopic instruments for surgery. The providers have either already been trained on these types of things or easily could learn them, but you have to consider what happens if they are to malfunction or if they need regular maintenance. Many times these types of things require representatives from the company to inspect and maintain them which would be near impossible in rural Uganda. Overall, looking back on the last month, I feel very blessed and fortunate to have been born in the US. While it may not always feel as such to everyone in the US, it really is a land of opportunity and abundance. This experience reinforced for me that I want to serve in these areas in some capacity in my career. My next steps will be to discern how this will look and how it may evolve over the years. For now, I will sign off. I wish everyone well who travels to Uganda. It truly is the “Pearl of Africa”. I close with a traditional farewell saying “safe journey”: teriimukabi olugendo.