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Uganda Elective: End of week 1

Liverpool Uni medical student, Sarah, arrives in Jinja – it’s a massive culture shock and very different to the NHS!

All of a sudden it’s Friday and we’re sat in a cafe in the middle of Jinja reconnecting to the world through WiFi!

This week has been so good, even if a massive culture shock. We’ve spent four days in the hospital now and there is such a massive difference between what we’re used to with the NHS and what the conditions are like here. In the UK, we’re used to requesting investigations such as bloods and x-rays all the time, without thinking about it, however over here, everything costs money and most tests are not available, even if they were affordable. The attitude of doctors here is also totally different. Although very knowledgeable, they are very relaxed nearly all the time which can appear to be detrimental to patients, particularly in emergency situations. Yet they deal very well with using the resources they have and try and do the best for patients based on what the patients can afford. It is clear how grateful everyone is for any treatment they receive, and the busyness of the hospital makes the NHS seem quiet.

In the children’s hospital in particular, there are only two wards plus an emergency room serving a large region in the south of Uganda. Each ward has as many beds as possible and there is often more than one child to a bed. Combine this with lots of parents and the heat leads to a very stuffy environment – this led to 4 forehead stitches for me on the first day which was not the best start!

It has also been nice this week to have time to wander round Jinja and get a sense for what it is like here. Despite being called “muzungu” (white person) all the time, it’s always in such a friendly manner and everyone is really welcoming! I have also made it to Brownies this week at a local primary school where it was really interesting to see what they do and the emphasis they put on empowering women.

Overall it’s been an incredible first week with so much to take in I can’t even begin to write it all down in one post! We’re starting to feel really settled here which is lovely and are hoping to book a safari soon which is something else to look forward to! Thank you once again for all the continued support – it’s much appreciated! 🙂 xxx

Sarah Read -6th July 2018