Reflecting on our time here in Uganda, it’s crazy we are already half way done. We have officially moved out of our districts back to the capital Kampala. These past 3 weeks in the Mbale district have been very enriching. From learning how to navigate the markets to grocery shop to bartering with the boda boda drivers (think Uganda Uber haha) this experience was intimidating at first but by the end we got into the swing of things.
The part I was most nervous about going to the districts was how to identify a health gap in a healthcare system I am not familiar and creating small project that I can accomplish in 3 weeks. At the end of week 1, I was fortunate to hear 2 passionate women speak on behalf of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission program (PMTCT). Because I have little knowledge about HIV interventions, I had to quickly do a literature review about PMTCT and HIV. Week 2 I learned what PMTCT is and the impact male involvement has on the success rate of PMTCT. After developing a small study and protocol for focus group discussions, I was able (with the help of many others at the District Health Office) to see this small program evaluation come together in just 3 weeks! This is the first time I was able to develop a protocol and implement it on my own.
A language barrier and traveling to the mountain side to a small village did not stop our research team. I’m so thankful for those that helped, and grateful for the opportunity to grow as a researcher here in Mbale.
It’s been an amazing experience putting theory into practice. And I’m excited for the second half of our project working with the Ugandan Police Defense Force (UPDF).