Months of preparation have finally come together for a three-day conference at the Regional Referral Hospital in Mbale Uganda, put on by KHI visitors, Dr. Judy and her husband Dr. Mark Gustafson.
There were 40 people in attendance, including a combination of midwives, clinical nurses, anesthesia assistants and doctors from the Manafwa, Baduda, and Mbale Districts.
The conference, which started on Jan. 8 and ran until Jan. 10, was centered on anesthetics and obstetrics. Each day contained six lectures by the doctors on a combination of topics, including cesarean section techniques, acute pain control, and neonatal resuscitation.
“I have learned so much from this conference,” said Mekhe Margaret a theatre assistant at the Bugoberro Health Center. “There are so many processes I will be bringing back to teach the nurses and midwives at the health center.
The doctors also made sure their lectures were applicable to health centers in low resource settings. Instead of giving the latest recommendations for new drugs on the market they gave simple tricks to improve performance, using supplies already available.
For example, you would typically use a sponge like wedge for elevating a patient, but you be hard pressed to find one here.
“You can use a folded towel for this method,” said Dr. Judy during one of her lectures. “Or, you can use my favorite technique, which is to simply slide a saline pouch underneath the neck.”
After the conference is over they will be spending the rest of their trip in Uganda working in the Bugobero Health Center and in the Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. They plan on participating in the operating room, both as practicing doctors and one on one teachers.
“We’ve worked in quite a few hospitals for NGOs,” said Dr. Judy. “I’ve realized that education is definitely the most sustainable thing you can give here.”