Greetings from Kampala, Uganda! So far everything is good. I have been living in Uganda as a mzungu (=white person) now for one and a half months. It has been relatively easy to live in here though the traffic is a mess, you have to bargain everywhere and it is very grouded here. English is spoken quite widely and because it is official language here, you can find all the information in English. Even every young child knows how to “greet” in English: bye mzungu and see you mzungu. Mzungu (pronounsed like musungu) has become like a second name.
Kampala city centre.
For the first four weeks I was living in Mpigi village. In Mpigi my practical placement was in Mpigi Health Center IV. I’m studying midwifery so I have been training in Maternity ward that includes labours, antenatal and postnatal care and in Maternal and child health clinic (neuvola). Also I worked some days in HIV clinic and in outpatient clinic to learn more about working culture in here.
Time in Mpigi was very teaching. They are working very hard with very little resources and doing great work. But also there is things that could be done better. Working is disorganised, working tempo is very slow, a nurses are still always soo busy. Also they way of treating patients is disrespectful, for example nurses are often laughing to the patients, talking rudely and there is no kind of privacy.
Midwives have a lot of work, birth rate is very high in here. Also they have no machines and technology to help monitoring the pregnancy. When pregnant mothers come to maternal health clinic they have only few minutes time with midwife. It is mostly it, that midwife does the abdominal palpation to evaluate the gestation time and listenes foetal heart rate with foetal scope. For Finnish midwife to be here is many to learn you wouldn’t learn in modern Finland.
Maternal and child health clinic in Mpigi health center.
Deliveries are also quite something in here. Mothers are rarely monitored during labour and they have to manage the first stage on their own, there is no other pain relief than to deliver. Women are bringing all the equipment, such as gloves, bed covers and sheets, theirselves and fir example c-section can be delayed because of they have first go and buy suturates and catheters… Luckily I have met very friendly and encouraging, often younger, midwives but also I have seen yelling, slapping and pulling the hair during the second stage. Women are still not really complaining. They are so strong and brave in here!
Labour suite in Mpigi health center.
I have also had amazing holiday week exploring Western Uganda with some other students. We saw beautiful countryside of Uganda and learned a lot about life in here. We had safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park and saw lions, buffalos, elephants, hippos and pumbas among others. We were trekking chimpanzees is the Karinju rainforest. We were swimming in Lake Bunyonyi, the only lake to swim here without hippos, crocodiles and bilharzia. And last but definitely not least we met the mountain gorillas in the misty mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Currently I’m working in Naguru Hospital (China Uganda Friendship Hospital) in Kampala. I have just finished my first week there and still have five weeks ahead. So far I can say that there definitely is work for a midwife!
See you Mzungus!