One of the best learning experiences I’m having during my time in Mbale is the field work. This is when we join one of the (District Health Office) DHO teams and head out into the district to do some investigating, support supervision, or assessments of various health issues.
On a typical day we arrive at the DHO at 8am and join a team going out to the field at around 9 or 10am. I have had the chance to take part in support supervision which was a really tasking activity that took all day. We go to a health facility and assess the various branches of the facility to see whether they are performing well, if they are well equipped, and what parts they could improve on. This included assessing the TB ward, the ART clinic, the child and maternal health center, the immunization ward etc.
So far what has been very obvious is that the health facilities are really under resourced. This definitely trickles down and affects employee’s moral, but it is very obvious that individuals are also working really hard for their communities. The system of care here is completely different from the U.S. It is interesting that patients don’t need referrals to seek specialty care, but this also adds to the workload at health facilities.
We are also working on our project for research purposes and we are extracting data from medical records. This has been really challenging since Uganda still uses paper documentation and all the record keeping is done manually. Reading different handwriting and shortcomings in the data quality have made it really challenging for our project, but we have so much support from the district.
I am very much soaking-in the time I have left in Uganda and being involved in the field work has been one of the most rewarding experiences.