Through SOGH and UDHA I was given the opportunity to work as an intern at the Iganga District Hospital located in the same area as the Maama project. I was hoping to learn more about the healthcare system in Uganda and experience working as a medical intern.
Iganga District Hospital was built in 1968 during the Obote regime to serve the 250 000 inhabitants. Since then the population has doubled and the hospital has emerged its service to surrounding regions. Today it is estimated to provide medical service to 1.5 million people. The facility itself has however not grown to meet the increasing needs and the number of beds has remained the same 120.
The hospital is financed by the government and has the highest rank in the Ugandan referral system. This means that next place to refer a complicated patient is the National Hospital in Mulago.
The money that is supposed to cover wages and keep the hospital running barely covers the electricity and water. There are not enough medicines, forcing the patients to buy their own leaving those who can’t afford without proper treatment. The availability of advanced equipment is limited.
Even though the conditions for the workers are hard, they make every possible effort. The ten doctors, the midwifes and the nurses that work at the hospital, manage to keep the place running by prioritizing and discharging patients that can manage further treatment at home.
My work at the facility is probably best described as a clinical practice. The first two weeks I walked beside Dr. Jude or Dr. Isa during rounds in their wards. Dr. Jude is an obstetrician in charge of the maternity ward, and Dr. Isa works in the male ward. The time schedule differed from day to day, but the following description serves as an example of a typical working day.
Starting at nine o’clock waiting for the doctor to arrive. The doctor then does a round at one of the wards, where we examine the patients and I can ask questions about their diagnosis. Some patients are discharged, others receive a change in treatments and a few are sent to the x-ray or have blood samples taken. One or two patients are scheduled for surgery later that day. After the round the nurses are updated and given instructions. Around one o’clock in the afternoon we visit the other wards. Around two o’clock we enter the operating theatre where I observe three or four procedures taking place before the working day is over at five o’clock.
During the third and fourth week I chose to spend more time together with midwifes, nurses and the Ugandan medical students. I found this more suitable for me considering my lack of earlier clinical experience. This turned out to be a great choice, as working together made me feel that I learned even more and that I was able to contribute to the hospital work.
I am very satisfied with my stay here, I have learned and seen new things, made many new friends and gotten my first experience of working as a medical intern.
Webale for reading this post!