Thursday, 1 October 2009

Back to Business

My feet barely touched the ground on our return from the clinic visits before the 2 day workshop for the doctors and clinical officers was upon us! Luckily, I had made sure that most of the preparations had been done before leaving on our trip, but the fine-tuning always seems to take longer than imagined, so the lead up to the workshop was fairly frenetic! We had a total of 19 participants and it all seemed to run smoothly with some good feedback at the end. All the delegates participated fully and worked really hard throughout the workshop. They engaged wholeheartedly in role plays, brainstorming sessions, small group work, and contributed actively to all of the sessions. One of the sessions I organised was on rational antibiotic prescribing, as this is highlighted as a general problem in Uganda, and so I had been looking at this a bit more closely as I visited the clinics. I was especially encouraged by the group’s active participation in this activity and the enthusiasm with which they suggested ways of improving their rational antibiotic use. We then broke up into smaller groups, and armed with appropriate evidence-based resources, each group was allocated a small disease category in which to work and come up with suggestions as to which antibiotic to use, at what dose, for how long and in which circumstances. We then discussed these choices as a larger group, and after some fine-tuning, we have collated the material into an IMC adult antibiotic guideline to help standardise antibiotic use across the clinics. As well as appreciating the opportunity to share ideas and best practice, all the participants commented on how much they also enjoyed making new friends, and not least of all, having fun together! The next workshop is scheduled for February although there is a request for them to be quarterly, so we will have to see what time allows. Especially since I am also hoping to get involved in setting up some womens’ health services for the local community where HIV and sexually transmitted diseases are rife and resources minimal, which could be a sizeable time commitment too! In addition to helping develop a robust evidence-based cervical smear programme at the hospital, which is also a worthy cause, given that the rates of cervical carcinoma in Uganda are very high. Oh, and with any remaining time, look into helping set up a Masters’ Degree course in Family Medicine at the university affiliated to the hospital! So in short, plenty to do!!!!
Alan is also busy getting involved in the local school where the ratio of pupils to teacher is 100+ to 1!!! Again, they are so grateful for any interest which makes it a very rewarding experience for all concerned. Reading books are a very scarce resource too so we may be issuing a plea for donations of books with which you have finished, so watch this space…!

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