Monday, August 1, 2016

Intern Dispatch: Nabirere

A day in the life of the UVP interns in Nabirere. by Louise, Anna, Fiona, Dorothy, and Maria

Interns meet with women during an HIV outreach
As the sun rises and the roosters start to crow, the 6 of us interns in Nabirere begin to emerge from our mosquito net covered beds, and before we know it, the morning chores have begun. The floor is being swept and mopped, the compound cleaned, the dishes are being washed, the latrine smoked with dry banana leaves, and water is being fetched from the shallow well down the road. Once finished, we make our own breakfast with the fresh milk that is brought daily straight from the cow. We are then ready to start the day’s work for Uganda Village Project.

Beginning with a short planning session for the day, we kick off our weekly Global Health Leadership Curriculum meeting. Meanwhile hearing a bunch of little kids voices outside calling “HELLO” or “JAMBO” to us, and not stopping until they receive some reply. After we eat the delicious local Ugandan food for lunch, consisting of many starches and vegetables, we are ready to move onto sensitization planning. Focusing on our first malaria sensitization, we discussed the community needs, placing more emphasis on the basics of malaria. This was to ensure that there is effective communication about the causes and treatment, tucking in mosquito bed nets, going to the health centre when symptoms are observed, and the truth about myths surrounding malaria. After previous weeks work of data collection within the 121 community households, and conducting SWOT analyses, we were able to design an engaging education session, which also incorporated a Q&A sessions and a funny skit at the end.

Furthermore, with the help of the Village Health Team of Nabirere A, we were able to begin mobilizing for the sensitization session 2 days prior by placing posters around the community and bike-riding to visit different households. After all this preparation, it came time to set off down the dirt road and through the rows of growing fruits and vegetables to the meeting place. We were all prepared for a waiting crowd.

Nevertheless, once we got there we encountered the challenge of the village clock. This meant we spent 2 hours waiting for our audience to arrive, which definitely exercised our patience and flexibility. Once the sensitization finally got started, our morale was high and we were ready for anything. We continuously created rapport and engaged community members by answering all questions that arose, and welcomed all late comers. At conclusion of our session, we sold numerous long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets and left the community space feeling rewarded and empowered as a team.

Over dinner, when night fall came, we debriefed about our day around the lanterns, highlighting all the strengths and weaknesses of the process. Throughout the entire day we worked productively as a culturally diverse team, all bringing our different skills to the table. After we took our malaria prophylaxis and made a group trip to the latrine through star lit sky, we tucked ourselves back into our mosquito nets to conclude the day.

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