Saturday, August 11, 2012


I did not know exactly what to expect upon arriving in Gombe, Uganda. But the circumstances at Gombe Hospital were even more dire than I anticipated in terms of staffing, equipment and resources. We were shocked when Dr. Haruna, who not only runs the hospital in Gombe but is also the head hospital administrator for the entire district, told us that his budget was cut by 33%. He was also not allowed to hire new staff unless someone retired, even though the hospital was at about 50% in terms of staffing. Oh, and by the way, he came to greet us and deliver this news after completing a c-section for a woman who had placenta previa. The condition had been identified before delivery and the patient had been instructed to stay near the hospital. She and the baby made it out of surgery healthy and another woman's life was saved.

Despite all the challenges, the team of clinicians at Gombe was upbeat and motivated. Nurses, medical students, and anyone who knew we were there was eager to meet us and learn whatever we had to teach them. The patients, although nervous, were very grateful for the services that were provided and at the end of the week, 3 of the clinicians, Sarah, Penninah, and Carol were certified in VIA. Dr. Melissa was absolutely unrelenting in her quest to get the cryo machine to work and after some duct tape and chewing gum (I kid you not), she was successful and able to certify Penninah in cryotherapy.

Our team of PINCC volunteers has really gelled: me, Julie, Dr. Jaya and our fearless medical director, Dr. Melissa are the fabulous clinicians. Then there's our nurse extraordinaire Linda (also Julie's mom) who is willing to teach anyone who will listen. Our support staff members, Shelby (Melissa's daughter) and Priya (Jaya's daughter) are hard workers and mature behind their years. And of course, none of this would even be possible without the always calm and supportive Carol, making sure we have what we need and get where we need to go.
Today we had a day off in Jinja which we spent shopping and then on a sunset cruise on the Nile. We had a bit of rain but overall it was fun and beautiful.

We leave for Kenya tomorrow morning. Can't wait to see what adventure awaits us!

Hope we will be able to post some pictures soon!
Rebecca Donn
Sent from my Android phone with SkitMail. Please excuse my brevity.

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