The focus of a 13 day stay in Uganda, by six medical students from Monash University Australia, is to work side by side with the Suubi medical staff to conduct free medical testing for the local communities in the area. Prior to leaving home the Team:MED students had worked tirelessly to fundraise to cover the cost of laboratory requirements to conduct this free testing.
Work began in ernest on Tuesday and Wednesday, at Suubi Clinic, with the supplies and equipment they had provided being unpacked and the team briefed on the procedures they would need to follow during the testing.
Centrifuges donated from Australia and an electric rotator purchased in Uganda by the group were tested before being put to use during blood collection.
Team:MED students were then briefed by the Suubi medical team about all the activities they would be involved in and the procedures they would need to follow.
Patients soon began arriving so it was all hands on deck. Commonly found diseases, in Uganda, such as malaria, HIV, brucella and typhoid were high on the list of tests carried out. A boarder range of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, blood grouping, stool and urine analysis, and pregnancy tests will also be worked on during the teams stay.
Suubi staff, Eunice and Abdul worked with Naomi on one of the earlier patients to arrive.
Naveen, Naomi and Shivani met patients during consultations with Suubi's clinical officer, Kaweesa Robert.
Suubi's laboratory technician, Elias, guided Shivani and Saada and explained what they needed to be looking for under the microscope to detect various diseases.
On Thursday the testing moved out into the community with outreach sessions held in two different locations. The first was at a district event held at Nkpni playground to mark The Day Of The African Child. Many people attended this event so it not only gave the medical teams the opportunity to work with lots of patients but also saw Suubi Centre director, Ssemwogerere David addressed the crowd to speak on behalf of all NGO's (non government organisations) in the district.
Ssemwogerere David represented the district NGO's and took the opportunity to tell the crowd about all the services and projects operating at Suubi Centre.
The medical team set up to carry out testing at The Day Of The Africa Child event.
Grace chatted with the patients and took down their details as testing was carried out.
Adele and Saada worked together to take blood samples for testing.
The second outreach session took place at Kyasonko Village. This was part of the usual Suubi outreach sessions that has been happening every Thursday in various villages over the previous two months. The Suubi medical team usually takes the opportunity to talk to communities about a variety of health issues but the residents of Kyasonko were lucky enough to be included in the free testing.
Kawessa Robert spoke to members of Kyasonko community before testing got underway.
The testing has returned to Suubi Clinic for today and tomorrow before the finals of the annual Butonde Bwansi tournament are held this Sunday. Thousands of people normally attend this event so it will be a wonderful opportunity to promote all the services that are available at Suubi Clinic.
After months of preparation it was wonderful to see the six medical students from Monash University's Team:MED finally arrive in Uganda on June 15th.
The jet lagged team arrived at Entebbe airport before making their way to Kampala backpackers for a well earned rest.
The following day the medical students faced their first reality check when they toured Uganda's largest hospital, Mulago. The conditions here are certainly different from the hospitals they are currently training in, back home in Australia. At times the team saw things that were very confronting but all agreed that the experience was well worthwhile and will help to make them better doctors in the future.
Team:MED students (L-R) Naveen, Naomi, Kaweesa, (from Suubi Clinic) Shivani, Saada, Grace and Adele were given a tour of Mulago Hospital by Ogwal Francis.
After a further night in Kampala, this morning the team set off bright and early to make their way to Suubi Clinic in Lubanda Village. After stop overs at the equator, roadside markets and Masaka supermarket to buy supplies they were thrilled to finally arrive.
Fresh fruit and vegetables from the roadside markets were a hit with team.
They could barely believe their eyes as they puledl in to the clinic though, as many different groups from the community had gathered to welcome them.
The Suubi group, dressed in their matching traditional outfits, escorted them from the car to where they would be entertained.
Adele, Saada, Shivani and Grace were thrilled to be invited to join the traditional dancing.
Next, a group of students from Sharon Primary school won the hearts of the crowd as they performed especially for the medical teams.
Abdul and Kaweesa, from the Suubi medical team, were appreciative of their performance and were happy to join them for a dance.
Community leaders were also at Suubi to welcome the team and show their appreciation of medical students willingness to volunteer in the district. The evening was a huge success and was certainly a great way for the team to settle in before the real work begins tomorrow.
A week long series of bakery workshops were conducted between May 13th to 17th for the youth associated with Suubi Centre. This followed on from workshops in January by a group of Aussie volunteers that were visiting Suubi and had fundraised to purchase the bakery oven for the Centre.