I’m back after spending 14 days “away”. I thought I would spend 40 days, but here I am. I did manage to make it to a number that had 4 in it. I don’t know if much has changed. I am still feeling quite out of sorts. But I miss my internet “family” too much to remain silent any longer. I retreated for a time. Now I have returned. Besides, I have so much more to tell you about Uganda. With that being said, let the stories recommence.
After returning from Moroto, I had the opportunity to spend the week observing the staff of the health center 4 in Nabilatuk. It is a hospital that serves a fairly large region in Karamoja. The hospital has a fairly small staff of government employees. Most of the health centers are run by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Because the health centers are run by the government, the staff is assigned to each facility by the government in a military like fashion. The health center 4 in Nabilatuk is staffed by several nurses, a health officer (like a physician assistant), a theatre officer (like a scrub tech) midwives, an anesthesia officer (like a nurse anesthetist), lab officers, and a physician.
The week I spent at the health center 4, the physician seemed to be on strike? I t was never confirmed or denied. It was the impression I got from the staff.
The hospital was fairly busy with about 50 inpatients. The number one disease to deal with in Nabilatuk and much of Uganda is malaria. The strain is different from the Carribean strain. It is actually more deadly. People get it frequently. At least 90% of the inpatients were sick with malaria. When the rainy season arrives, the number of patients rises significantly.
The hospital serves as a great place to hear the news. There are no newspapers to speak of in the Karamoja region so news is by word of mouth. While I was at the hospital, I learned about the gunshot that occurred over the previous weekend. It seems a man from another tribe came to spy out the land for cows. He got caught. The people showed no mercy as they shot and killed him. Then they phoned his people and told them to stay away from Nabilatuk or they would suffer the same fate.
The first day at the hospital, I had the opportunity to help Domos (pictured above) do an irrigation and debridement of a hand infection. We also changed the dressing on a girl who was shot with an arrow. Her brother was angry at their mother and was trying to shoot her when she stepped in front of her mother to save her. Domos poured honey into the wound because it has many healing properties.
It is always fascinating to see the way hospitals run in other countries. This hospital was very basic, basic supplies, basic staff, basic lab tests, basic medications. In a place like this, you really get to see God as the great Physician He is. Amazing.