Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In Charge

Giving a DPT vaccine at the outreach

This week Sister Angel has left for Ghana. She is the director of the clinic and the only sister right now working at the clinic on a daily basis. Without her it means Anne and I are “in charge.” We have a list of things to check up on each day in addition to our usual duties. For example it is up to us to make sure doors are locked, money is accounted for each day, matters are taken care of, drugs are brought each day, a new nurse is welcomed and oriented to the unit, vaccines are available, and things are running smoothly. We are also helping create an action plan for the strategic plan that was created last week. I did not expect to take on such an administrative role upon coming to Uganda, but as cliché as it sounds we are rolling with the punches- even when those punches are hard (strategic planning is not easy when you are short on resources!)

Today I went on an immunization outreach in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The outreach was at a church and when me, a clinic worker named Amos, and our driver Sister Daisy showed up no one was there. I was told that this would be a short outreach, and thought “wow it must be really small if no one is even here.” However, 3 hours later and after giving out well over 60 immunizations we were finished. Two other village health workers were planning on showing up, but one never showed and the other did not arrive until much later so the work was plentiful for just the three of us. So much for a “small” outreach. These rural villages are not used to seeing a “mzungu” so once again there was a crowd of school children around the church at all times giggling, whispering, and staring at me throughout most of the time there. Additionally, some of the mothers feel very happy and privileged that a white person came to immunize their child. I wish I could tell them that Amos, an African, is just as qualified to vaccinate their child, and in fact he even has more years experience then I do. The color of one’s skin seems to bring stereotypes and different perceptions of someone no matter what country you are in.

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