Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mulago Hospital


            After an exciting visit to TASO (The AIDS Support Organization), we split up into two different groups. Eight Drake students that were not focused on business/entrepreneurship got to visit and tour Mulago Hospital, the main and biggest public hospital in Kampala, where they treat the sickest of the sick. It was the most eye-opening day I have ever experienced. Today was the largest realization of culture shock,with the difference between an advanced country and a developing country, I have had on this entire trip. Words cannot even describe all the thoughts that were going through my head when walking through the hospital. We got to go ‘behind the scenes’ and see the different facilities and levels of the hospital. The way their system works is that the less you are able to pay or the fewer doctors you personally know, the worse service you get. The main things I noticed were the amount of families there to comfort and support their sick loved ones, sanitary problems in the wards, the lack of space (at least 20 very sick or hurt patients to a room, on top of lots of family members sitting with them), and that it seemed like most of the doctors, nurses, and staff seemed to not give the patients much attention or help. I thought it was amazing that Mulago just got a new heart institute, the best CAT scans in the country, as well as plans to get an MRI very soon. 
            Overall this was a great and meaningful experience to be apart of. What were you shocked about the most? What are the main comparisons and contradictions you can make between our hospitals and theirs? How does the quality of healthcare at Mulago effect sustainable development? What would you say needs the most improvement in order to be a more efficient hospital and how would you suggest they implement this improvement? 

6 comments:

  1. I was most shocked about the smells at the hospital and the sight of sick people crammed into a room. I saw some disturbing things that made me dizzy which is saying something since I am normally not bothered by blood at all. The main similarity between their hospital and ours is that the people who pay more get better treatment. There are free clinics in America, but patients tend to have to wait long to get care and may not even receive care. At Mulago, floors 1-5 were for people who couldn't pay while floor 6 was for those who could afford to pay. Floors 1-5 were crammed with people, smelled, and the patients got little attention while floor 6 was cleaner, had less people, and the patients received more attention.The main difference between US hospitals and Mulago was in regards to sanitation, the amount of people,and the security of the hospital. The quality of healthcare impacts the health of the Uganda citizens, which has a direct impact on the economic growth of a country. If a country cannot take care of the health of its citizens, it cannot ensure the success of future generations if the people are constantly dying of illness. I learned from talking to a native Uganda that many people die at Mulago because they don't get seen soon enough. I would suggest that they hire more doctors in order to allow patients to be seen quicker. I know that Uganda has a problem with having enough doctors, so I think they should develop programs encouraging people to go into medicine.

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  2. I dont think that the problem is that there aren't enough doctors but they have a problem motivating doctors especially when they don't make any money in the public sections of the hospital. The hospital environment was very hard to see and really makes me appreciate our system in the U.S. I would say that the most shocking thing is the lack of privacy that the patients were given. Our tour guide brought us directly through the wards where patients looked like they were all suffering through their sickness, the heat, and crowdedness. No curtains were up for the patients to have some privacy but rather open rooms filled with patients on beds and family members galore surrounding. The most common similarity that I see between the hospitals is the set up of the wards and how everything is laid out in certain areas. Also, the one CAT machine that they did have was the same one that we have in the U.S. Other than that not too may similarities. It seemed very different that the first thing I saw was someone who had just passed away being carted away on the main floor right past the entry way. Not quite a reassuring thought when entering a hospital. I completely agree with Annie and if those people who need simple medical attention and aren't given any and pass away, the success of future generations are hindered. I think there is a lot of corruption in the health care system in which only the top income makers can afford the private health care. Acquiring more privacy for patients and getting rid of the private and public sections is the first step.

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  3. I did not have the chance to go to the hospital but I feel that I learned a lot just from what you all communicated to me. I have to agree with Lindsay that it is the number of doctors does not seem to be the problem. I was talking to Simon at lunch the other day and he said one of greatest struggles in the education system is that teachers are not passionate and/or motivated to make a difference and teach these kids. I feel that same theory can be applied to the hospital. The doctors need to have a passion and want to make a difference to help these people no matter what, whether it is for pay or not. Another reason that I feel the doctors did not strive to make a difference for the better of the patients is that there was a real lack of privacy. There were no curtains, and Drew had said that the doctors went into the exam rooms without even asking the patients for consent and continued to say "If the nurses said it was ok, it's ok." I do not agree with that at all and it seems really unethical and really bothered me to hear this. Now that I was able to hear the presentation on human rights as well, I would say that people's rights are not being respected in the health care system. There is a lot of corruption and unethical work that really need to be fixed in the future.

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  4. Going off of Rachel's comment and also getting back to Annie's question, a huge theme in this country is corruption. Whether mentioning it as a joke in the Ndere culture center or talking about it with MUBS students during meals, not one day has gone by that the topic has not come up in one way or another. This was especially true in Mulago Hospital. Using a more "American" definition of corruption, the doctors in Mulago seem to find their incentive and motivation in the higher pay of the private wards. I think it is important to keep in mind that it might not necessarily be a result of the doctors not caring about the other patients (at least I hope so). Rather, it might be a result of their necessity to make a good living for both them and their family. While that may not be true, I think it is a perspective that is still important to keep in mind. After walking through the hospital, we stopped at the oxygen supply center. In the main office of the center, there was a large office where the head of the center worked. In this office, there was a blank green wall with a single piece of paper in the middle that said, "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong" (Voltaire). I feel like this quote is helpful to think about in many settings here in Uganda.

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  5. I think the hospital was an eye opening experience. I agree with emily i experienced culture shock being in that environment. I think the biggest shock for me was about sanitation and lack of clean water. One of the biggest deasises the hospital sees is malaria and diarrhea. Diarrhea should not be one of the biggest concerns for a hospital. Also when we were looking over the court yard there was a biohazard bag just sitting next to the plants. that wouldn't fly in a US hospital. Yet at the same time i think i must remember that we might see the differences between the two hospitals. However, the hospital is the "norm" for them. Its all they have known. If they went to the US they would be shocked by our hospitals.

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  6. Since being home, this is the event I tell all my friends and family it is. I feel so extremely grateful that we live in a place that does offer safe, sanitary, and timely healthcare. It was extremely eye-opening to see the conditions in this hospital. To be honest, I don't I'd feel comfortable in the "nicer" more "private" area. The one scene that sticks out in my head is when we walked out of a doorway to find a small boy crying with an eyeball out of his socket. Some things in life never leave your mind. I will remember the smells, feelings, pictures, emotions, and any other sense you can feel when thinking about this place. Also, why don't the doctors do anything?! I honestly didn't see one nurse or doctor in any of the areas designated for patients. I'm sorry, but if I've walked for DAYS to receive healthcare, I would sure as hell want to receive it if I really needed it. Not only is it a slow process, but it doesn't seem all that sanitary either. WIth these conditions, I don't think this way of healthcare is sustainable at all. People are not receiving treatment, the place is corrupt beyond fixing, and nobody believes the doctors are there to actually help people! That's another thing I noticed in the hospital. Doctors don't seem to be there for a passion, but it is a lucrative career. In the US, most people would find doctors to have a special calling to handle medical care and have a passion for helping others. It doesn't seem to be the case in Uganda. By far the most eye opening experience on the trip. Although it was difficult to see some of the things that went on there, I'm glad (not actually glad, but I couldn't think of another adjective) I got to see this.

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