27th March 2017
Sarah arrived safely on saturday, settled in on sunday, and within a working day has met many of the faculty and has a busy couple of days planned.
Yesterday Judy and Frankie went off to Atiak to visit a maternity unit in the rural north. The unit serves an area of about 1200 km2 and has approximately 600 deliveries a year with a maternal mortality of nearly zero, and their infection rates (which plagues the maternity wards elsewhere) is very very low. So how do they do it? They have worked closely with the traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and been guided by their needs – the TBAs seek out the mothers in the villages and refer them for antenatal care and for delivery in the unit so virtually no births are in the village. They have a 24/7 on call phone line that the TBAs use to call for the units boda boda ambulance ( photo – this “pod” attaches to the motor bike). The unit is like a huge tukal with side rooms budding off it – each of these is a private delivery room and is ‘home from home’. They use traditional methods – leave the placenta attached for an hour, then cut it with a blade of sterilised grass. Problems are spotted early by trained midwives and patients taken by their boa boda ambulance to Lacor hospital.
Today, monday, Judy went to liaise with public health about an outreach pilot for breast lumps, then spent the morning on the surgical ward teaching. Frankie went to theatres, and Paul and sarah went to the university.
We all met up for lunch in a tiny cafe by the university for rice, beans, beef and fish, after which Judy and Frankie taught the 3rd year students all afternoon.
Sarah and Paul visited Katherine secondary school for girls just outside Lira. They were warmly welcomed by the deputy head master Levi Abongo. Sarah was interested to find out how secondary school students choose their university courses, and which routes are most popular for girls at this school – a useful question for Lira university planning to expand their faculty and recruit from the local community. This is a large school – in impeccable grounds with a role of 1200 girls and following the UK curriculum.
It was very hot by 7pm. We had bought a large bag of roadside mangoes over the weekend, so Frankie set to work as gin-mango cocktail queen- they were delicious but sadly ice is never available here. Within moments the heavens literally exploded with thunder and lightening and we were silenced by a cacophony of hail on tin roofs.. and Lo! the sky spat lumps of ice at our feet…. ice for cocktails….. “God will provide”.