June 2017

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June 2017

June 28th – Azur Clinic

To kickstart our week in Hoima, Katie, Claudia and I spent two days at the Azur Medical Clinic situated in the community. The clinic provides private paediatric, adult and maternity services and also has an onsite theatres department dealing with minor procedures. We spent the majority of our time in the paediatric department gaining insight into clinical processes and practices, however, we also had the opportunity to widen our knowledge by rotating around other ward areas.

On first impressions I was pleasantly surprised to see that the paediatric department was colourful with pictures painted on the walls giving the environment a child centred feel, although, at the same time immediately found myself making comparisons to healthcare systems and settings in the UK. The clinic itself was great in terms of serving its purpose and supporting members of the local community to try to improve health, however, I did not expect to see such a difference in the way that care is delivered to patients. For example, treating children without testing and confirming a diagnosis, one member of nursing staff co-ordinating an entire ward and doctors prescribing medication just because it is the only drug available in the pharmacy, were all practises I have never witnessed in our UK hospitals. All these things reminded me how lucky we are to have such a wonderful NHS and suitable resources to keep patients healthy and safe.

From following ward round, it was apparent that space proved an issue, as patients could almost touch one another from bed to bed, parents were sharing their child’s sleeping space, cubicles for infectious patients did not exist and cleanliness of the clinical environment did not seem a priority compared to standards set in the UK. Patients and families were denied confidentiality as all other parents could listen to one another’s consultations and even something as simple as a bedside curtain was unavailable, therefore, not allowing patients and their families privacy within the setting.

Another difference noted was that hospital admission and treatment was costly for patients with the daily rate for a paediatric bed including treatment costing families 20000 shillings, approximately £5 to us in the UK. Although as brits we view this as a small sum, £5 to a family living in poverty and poor conditions in Africa is a huge bill to pay.

The highlight of our experience at the clinic was having the opportunity to witness an emergency cesarean section. Again we noticed many differences in practice throughout the theatre/surgical process, but it was a complete privilege and honour to witness a precious life being brought into the world and is something we will all treasure forever.

From working with the team at the Azur Clinic it has made me think more about how important our NHS is and how truly lucky we are to receive such fantastic care with easy access to resources in the UK. I will forevermore remember my experiences of the healthcare system here in Uganda and will always appreciate everything the NHS provides to patients in need.

Bonnie

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