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When instinct kicks in…

Hello again! Alice and Alice here again. We’ve just finished the second week of our nursing elective in Jinja.

Our last two days on the Special Care Unit were busy and very challenging. We walked on to the ward to find a baby not breathing and there was no nurse to help. Instincts kicked in and we resuscitated the baby back to a stable condition. There was also another baby in respiratory arrest later that day who also needed resuscitating. We successfully managed both babies ourselves and were able to tell when they were improving. It was sad to come to terms with the fact that one of those babies won’t live long as they don’t have the resources to support the child. 

To finish our first week off, we went to Murchison Falls for a safari! It’s a must do while you’re here and is an unforgettable experience! We saw so many animals in their natural habitat and the scenery was beautiful. Our guide was a bit questionable though!! It was a great way to end our first week in Jinja!

This week we’ve started in the children’s hospital. We have been assigned to different departments; one of us is in emergency and one of us is on the general wards. Even though it is linked to the main hospital, there is a greater lack of resources and parents have to buy most things themselves. For example, basic supplies such as syringes, cannulas and tape. A lot of the children are suffering from sickle cell disease, sepsis and malaria. In comparison to the children’s Hospital we train in, the environment is shocking. Infection control is close to non-existent.

There is often 3 children to a bed, the sinks don’t work and there is no soap! Ugandan Healthcare Guidelines appears to be different to those in the UK. For example, the resuscitation algorithm is  very different and time is wasted on faulty equipment needed in emergency situations. There are many deaths which would have been easily prevented in the UK. It has been a real eye-opener and makes us appreciate the NHS for what it is. 

Today (7th Aug) we took the day off from the hospital and went to Kathy’s Centre. It was really special to see the charity’s work in action. We spent most of the day with the children in the Kindergarten and it was immediately apparent that they loved being there! We read some stories and also played with them outside. They sang and danced for us and we even got involved too!!

We also observed a clinic, testing for HIV and Hepatitis B. To see what it was really like they used one of us as an example and took our blood and tested it. It all came back negative!! About 70 people use the clinic to get tested when it is open. They also offer vaccinations against Hep B and treatment for HIV. It has been an honour to be able to observe the positive effects of the charity’s work! 

Sadly for one of us, our elective is coming to an end this Saturday. Alice is heading back to the UK to spend two weeks in Great Ormond Street Hospital, where there’ll be a massive contrast in the delivery of healthcare. We’re sad that our time together in Jinja has come to an end but I will still be here for the next 2 weeks and will be continuing the blog!