Jayne Fleming, Nicola Froud, Sophie Park and Alice Lee are 3rd year Learning Disability Nursing students who have have elected to spend time in Uganda at Mbarara University Hospital as part of their clinical placement.
Day 6 in Uganda
Up until now we have been enjoying the magical sights and unspoiled landscapes the country had to offer. The journey to Mbarara did not go without a few hitches...delayed flights...problems boarding transfer flight...lost luggage and sickness to name but a few!
However today saw the start of our clinical placement in Mbarara hospital. Our (Nicola and Jayne) first day began on the surgical ward and opened our eyes to the sobering reality of the inequalities in healthcare. Lack of resources, beds, doctors and nurses are but a few of the challenges faced on a daily basis. The pain and suffering was on a grand scale. With no pain relief to offer, medical staff were forced to carry out procedures in overcrowded wards with no privacy while families looked on helplessly. We observed one nurse working frantically to care for the more than 30 patients on the ward; families cared for the patients while the nurse dressed wounds, cleaned burns having no time to stop and talk or comfort the patient.
Dr Fred who kindly allowed us to follow his ward round showed a great deal of empathy with nothing too much trouble. He explained in depth the frustrations they faced with patients often left untreated unable to pay for treatment and medication. He highlighted the extraordinarily high cases of breast and stomach cancer with most being advanced and untreatable by the time they reached hospital.
Infection control - although not to UK standards - was carried out very well considering resources were so limited. Sterile gloves were used for each patient and care was taken when disposing of clinical waste. This seemed like a positive step in the right direction. Most wounds we saw were clean and free of infection with the nurse taking pride in the job she had done so well. Tomorrow's stop....the psychiatric ward.