Popular Posts

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kikandwa Health Clinic

The Kikandwa Health Clinic started with the collaboration of the village elders and Drake University back when this program of sustainable development came to Uganda 11 years ago. What started as a service-learning project has turned into a major contribution to the people in Kikandwa and the neighboring villages, providing basic care such as deliveries, HIV testing, and immunizations. With the Rotary Service event yesterday at the clinic, as Drake and MUBS students we had the opportunity to see the immense impact that past students have made on this community, thus inspiring me to have an active role within the new maternity ward. The continuation of the clinic gave the perception that there is hope for healthcare in this environment. Expansion and growth is seemingly inevitable and although it may take many years to come, the people involved in this progression are committed to providing for their friends, neighbors, and family.

As I interviewed for my research project and played with the little kids that were waiting for their mothers to finish in the clinic, I was amazed by the patience that and calmness that surrounded the grounds. It was as if no one had anywhere else to be and even if it took all day to see a doctor, it was worth it. From this, I realized just how much of a hectic and chaotic environment we tend to live in, in the States. Everyone is in a rush and waiting an extra 10 minutes for something, even healthcare, is not acceptable. How do you think this has an impact on how we view the importance of the services we receive from other people? Are we fully concentrated on the selfishness that is getting what we want when we want it?

In relation to yesterday's festivities as a whole, what was the moment or moments that impacted you the most? How will this change the way you few the American healthcare system? What are ways that we can contribute to the growth of this clinic from back home?


  1. Great reflection Krista. I am excited to continue my research project on technology the Kikandwa Clinic needs; it has been a learning experience talking with Dr. Isaac and patients yesterday about what they think would benefit them the most. At the very least I hope to inform people of the needs the clinic has and I hope to extend that to helping them get what they need. The moment that had the largest impact on me was while shadowing Dr. Isaac. He used only his hands and a small instrument that was similar to a stethoscope to tell how far along a pregnancy was, the position of the baby, and if the baby was normal or breached. Dr. Isaac has such a passion. Although the clinic is not sustainable, he works so hard to do the best he can with what he has. I strive to one day be as good as doctor as he is.

  2. I think there is definitely an element of selfishness in the U.S. when it comes to receiving services from others. We often have other things that we're more concerned about in our lives than seeing a doctor. To me, it seems like the selfishness is almost a consequence of development because we're healthy enough to be able to put our time and energy into things other than seeing a doctor. Because we have good health we can afford to be selfish with our time and requests. To answer your second question, the most impactful moment for me was interviewing a village woman and then finding out her son had malaria. It touched me that she gave me her time when she clearly had more serious things to worry about.

  3. I love this post Krista! I really love the part about hope because I felt the exact same way while we were there. Seeing the huge crowd of villagers really just exemplified the huge impact Drake, the Rotary Club, and the staff at the health center has had on the community.

    There definitely is a sense of urgency in the US that comes from selfishness that our time is more precious than others. We get very caught up in the next thing that we need to do that we forget to live in the moment and take for granted the time of people like doctors and other peoples services.

    I think there were two moments that really had a big impact on me. The first was when a man from the community came to find me in the crowd and shook my hand and thanked me so genuinely. The other moment was when a member of the Rotary Club came up to me and a few other Drake Students and had tears in her eyes and said that they could not have done any of this without us and that the community is healthier because of us. Even though I really did not have a hand in creating the health clinic, I felt so proud to be a part of Drake after both of these moments and it is so inspiring that my previous peers could make such a great impact on this community that I want to find any way that I can to help.

  4. Krista you really pin pointed exactly how I was feeling at the clinic the other day! Just before we were leaving for this trip I went to the doctor and she was 30 minutes behind and I thought it was the end of the world and my whole day was thrown off. Here a 30 minute wait is unheard of and would be so greatly appreciated. It was amazing to see the genuine appreciation of the doctors as well as the coming together of the community for such a great event.
    It was heartwarming to see the kids play together and the excitement they felt by something as simple as a new ball to play with, or even seeing a mechanical pencil to draw with. Not only was it heartwarming but humbling to see the kids playing as kids and not being wrapped up in phones and other electronics.
    Great post Krista! The maternity ward will be lucky to have you there!

  5. Great summarization, Krista! During the Rotary Service event, I got the chance to help out by registering patients. Patients ranged from baby to elderly and included male and female, showing that not only is an entire community benefited from this clinic, but that the clinic is inclusive. Realizing just how many lives the clinic touches became clear when I was told to take a break after registering the 600th person, in order to give the health workers a short break. Rotary volunteers said they expected 1,000 patients that day, a usual for the clinic's monthly free-day. This experience has changed my perspective on the process of receiving healthcare that I go through in the U.S., and I will no longer take for granted being able to schedule and see a doctor without needing to travel far and wait an entire day in a line. I have learned that availability of healthcare is a major concern in Uganda, and it is paramount that this be addressed if the health of the nation is to be sustained while the country continues to develop.

    1. Hi Julie! Thanks for your comment; that is really awesome and I am glad you had such an incredible experience. I think it is interesting how this changed your perspective so much. While I didn't have that exact experience, this day certainly impacted me as well. I got to do my project, which is working with Days for Girls to provide reusable menstrual products to girls to stay in school, which was really impactful. I think that these girls need sustainable solutions to managing their cycles in order to receive quality education.

  6. This is such a great post! I can see the love and passion that you have for healthcare in general and Kikandwa as a center. I do agree with my previous peers of a slight selfishness within the American healthcare system compared to the Ugandan healthcare system. We view time as a precious item and having to wait past our scheduled time is unprofessional/annoying. I would have to say that many people back in the US would not be willing to wait a whole day out in the heat for a chance to see a doctor and I personally schedule my doctor appointments in the morning so my doctor will hopefully be on time. Also, the US mainly views healthcare as an everyday item while Uganda may view it as a luxury because of the limited access and technology. To answer your second question, I would have to say viewing the process of registering everyone and the passion everyone had for each other.

  7. Nice post Krista! I love the way that you interpreted patients that the local people had waiting in line because I saw the situation as super hectic at the time, but in hind sight, I realize that I was looking at the situation in the American way. As an American in a more advanced healthcare system, I expect to be able to make an appointment and see the doctor that I want to within a couple weeks of my symptoms. In contrast, the healthcare system in Uganda is a lot worse and most of the people that we saw were getting the only healthcare that they could receive all year no matter what because it is the only affordable care and the only way they could leave their families and businesses to be seen because the other closest hospital is hours away. In the US I know that there are four hospitals around me and can be seen on a moment’s notice. Seeing this situation opened my eyes to the great privilege that we have in the US with reliable and accessible healthcare and the need to try to help spread healthcare to the rest of the world. Without Drake and the other partners in the creation of the health center, all of those patients would not have even been seen that one time of the year at all and could potentially never get that annual care that they currently have and the realization that the Ugandan’s have of the privilege of the health center made me appreciate what I have even more.

  8. This day was very eye opening for me. I was amazed at all of the people waiting in line to see a doctor, and was also struck by their patience as they waited in the heat just to seek medical advice, receive medicine, or whatever else they might have needed. This made me realize how fast paced the United States is all the time. I have experienced sitting in a waiting room of a walk in clinic for four hours and ended up being irritated and impatient, but that was nothing compared to the people who waited a whole day. I also loved how the health center had a free day once a month, and I think this is an idea that hospitals or medical centers in the united states should consider since there are so many people that don't have access to professional medical care.

    One thing that impacted me the most was after Sarah-Rose and I handed out our 50 kits, we had 3 young women approach us and ask us if they could have one too. This resonated with us deeply because it was apparent just how much need there is. It was heartbreaking to have to turn away those girls, and I just wish that we could have provided enough kits for all the girls there that day.

    I think that the health clinic is doing a great thing in Kikandwa, and I think that the United States, with all our for-profit health systems, advanced medical technology, and availability of doctors, should also adopt this sort of monthly-free day model.

  9. Great post Krista! Visiting the Kikandwa Health Center has been one of my favorite parts of the trip, especially since I am working on my project there. One of the aspects that has impacted me the most was speaking to Dr. Isaac and all of the staff. Their passion is truly inspiring and the hard work they put in is selfless. After speaking with one of the staff members, Haphy, I was energized by her genuine passion and great ability to make do with the limited resources provided to her. It also made me grateful for the privilege of knowing I have access to a full coverage of health care. After speaking with some patients on the Rotary Health Day, I discovered that the vast majority loved the health center but that many could not afford certain services and were therefore denied the human right of full access to health care and the sustainable development goal of good health.

  10. Wonderful reflection Krista, thank you so much for your post. I too was in awe that through the enormous lines, we could still see smiling, friendly faces and children all playing and laughing about. I was also very impressed with the amount of kindness and compassion that the healthcare providers illustrated, even though they were extrememly busy (and providing FREE services I will add). When it comes to healthcare in the U.S., I feel that we are to caught up in the time aspect of services and if they are offered at convenient times, that we fail to take a step back and think about the services we are receiving and all the hands that play apart in ensuring that we get the care we need. I think I speak for most of us when I say that after visiting the clinic, I am extremely proud to call myself a Drake student and I hope that we can continue to help improve the Kikandwa Clinic by ensuring that the providers have the resources they need to give quality care to its inhabitants.

  11. Fantastic reflection, Krista! I think the fast-paced culture of the US makes it easy for people to forget the privilege of having quality healthcare that is so easily accessible. Even while in Uganda, most of us who were sick were able to be driven to The Surgery and given care within hours of feeling the need to seek medical attention. For some, this is not the reality (both in the US and in Uganda) and I think it is important to remember that. The most impactful moment for me was definitely witnessing the sheer number of people seeking care from the clinic and how the staff maintained a positive and professional attitude throughout the day while also tending to the festivities. I think this shows that they have a genuine interest in taking care of the community and are happy to help. This is contrary to what is sometimes witnessed in the US, where care providers can even be apathetic towards patients.

    One of the best ways for us to continue to contribute to the clinic would be to find solutions for preserving and maintaining their supplies. For example, the fridges that maintain their reagents aren't very helpful when the power goes out, so they will need solar panels or a generator to avoid losing their supplies. A steady stream of supplies would also be helpful, so maybe a few of us could consider starting a package of general supplies such as water filters and tools to be brought with each Drake group that visits the village. In this way, I think we could help to make the clinic more sustainable.