Friday, 10 July 2009

First week at work - International Hospital Kampala

I have just drawn to the end of my first proper week of work, and yet it feels like I have been here for ages! I am beginning to get a feel for what my role entails, thanks to the fantastic handover my predecessors arranged and the high standard of work they managed to achieve in their year here. I hope the bar hasn’t been set too high!!! The objective is to develop an ongoing training programme for all the staff, clinical and non-clinical, manning the rural clinics affiliated to the hospital (IHK) where I am based. This will be rolled out on an ongoing basis by a Ugandan training team who will maintain the continuity and standard of care in the group, as there is such a high attrition rate amongst the clinical staff. So, I am having to do a crash refresher course on adult learning concepts, consultation skills, reflective learning, significant event analysis, audit etc. I am also very grateful for the VSO pre-departure course which taught me a lot of the facilitation skills and teambuilding games that will be necessary to use in the clinics too, as encouraging a good team spirit is very important alongside the medical provision, in such remote settings. We are also looking at possibly getting involved with an NGO which provides a telephone advice service via mobiles to very remote villages in the North of Uganda that have limited access to healthcare. Not sure how feasible that will be though but it will be an interesting exercise and excellent if it works!! Anyway, there is certainly plenty to be getting on with! The level of need is overwhelming but around every corner you hear about such levels of compassion, it really is quite humbling. We are due to meet a 28y girl from UK next week who visited Kampala 8 years ago for a holiday and has ended up staying and taking in 16 orphans from the slum on our doorstep, and raising them on her own, supported by various small business she has set up around Kampala. One of her businesses is a small pre-school so Bella may pop along there for a few mornings a week.
Alan is kept very busy at home too, shopping, cooking and entertaining the girls! He is exceptionally good at it too and produces some amazingly tasty dishes on our 3-ring stove from all the fresh produce he barters for at the local market! When they are not playing with the local kids and neighbours outside, the girls occupy their time making crafts from packaging so our wee house looks fantastic with colourful paintings/banners/paper models etc. They haven’t once missed the TV! In fact, I suggested a DVD on our laptop at the weekend (I have to use it at work in the week) and it was shouted down in preference to emailing!! Amy is also busy writing a story about her African adventure and is on chapter 6 which we had to have as a bedtime story tonight!

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