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End of Week 3 – Nearly Time to Come Home!

A week of eye opening and tough experiences in the Jinja Regional Referral Hospital for medical student, Sarah Read – grateful for just how lucky we are in the UK. 

I spent most of my time in hospital this week in both the emergency room and the malnutrition unit. Before I came to the children’s hospital, I had no idea just how much of a problem malnutrition is here – Uganda is a relatively stable and relatively prosperous African state so the extent of malnourishment seen here was such a shock.

A lot of children admitted to the hospital for other reasons are found to have some degree of malnourishment. But it’s seeing the severely malnourished children that is utterly heartbreaking. There are still children here dying through lack of food which is something that should not be happening in 2018. The death of one child on Friday hit me particularly hard – despite doing everything possible to try and save them, they were just too malnourished to survive. Despite being 18 months old they were similar in size to the 6 month old next to them and were so fragile when trying to do any sort of medical intervention. Seeing this child made me so grateful for food banks in the UK – despite the fact that no one should be desperate enough to need a food bank, having the system in place has invariably saved so many lives.

However, the malnutrition unit is also a place of optimism. Behind the building they have an area of garden where the dieticians teach and assist the parents in what to feed their children and how to grow staple foods – something I am sure makes a massive difference when the children are discharged.

After a tough week, we were able to have a nice relaxing weekend – our last in Jinja! As well as doing some souvenir shopping and going on a nice walk in Mabira Forest not too far away (including seeing some monkeys!), Beth and I decided that Sunday would be a good day to venture down the Nile and over its rapids in a rather small inflatable boat. Despite getting rather sunburnt and getting thrown out of the raft over one particularly scary rapid, we had a great time and definitely experienced a massive adrenaline rush!

It’s crazy to think that our time here in Uganda is so nearly over, and despite looking forward to coming home, I’ve had such a great time and gained so many experiences! We still have this week left in the hospital and I plan to make the most of it! Thanks for all the support and we’ll be back soon! 🙂 x

Sarah Read – 23rd July 2018