Week 8 consisted of visiting various health facilities to collect data for the other projects on HIV patient retention among adolescents and pregnant mothers. For one of the projects, I helped Liz go through health records to identify adolescent patients who were enrolled in care for HIV in 2014. We followed their care for 3 years to determine if they were lost to follow-up. One of the challenges was that each facility had only a few adolescent patients enrolled in their program so we had to visit numerous health facilities. Another challenge we encountered was incomplete records, making it difficult to collect all the necessary information. Some of the factors we were able to collect data on included age, sex, and pregnancy status.
The week concluded with more focus group discussions. We got up Saturday morning to go to another village for the focus groups. Traveling up to this particular village was a challenge because it was up in the mountains which meant that we had to get on and off the motorcycles to hike up the steep hills until we reached the destination. A couple of bruises later, I arrived at perhaps one of the most beautiful villages we have visited in Uganda. I’ve been so focused on my work, as well as appreciating and enjoying the company of new people I’ve been meeting, that I haven’t been actively thinking to take in the beautiful sights all around me during the focus groups discussions. However, the greenery, mountains, and waterfalls reminded me to take the time to take in the sights more often even when I’m working.
Next week will be our final week in Mbale before returning to Kampala!