Notes from the field: Kate and Vivienne’s work in Uganda, January-March 2015

IHACC PhD student Kate Bishop-Williams and research assistant Vivienne Steele recently spent nearly 2 months working in Buhoma, Uganda at Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH).

Vivienne and Kate in front of BCH

Kate and Vivienne arrived in Kampala in late January with Dr. Sherilee Harper to meet with IHACC team members at Makerere University. After a very short visit in the city, the team headed into Buhoma on a caravan plane; ready to hit the ground running. Hospital meetings began immediately at BCH and facilitated a quick start to data collection. Kate and Vivienne’s travel plan was primarily focused on entering hardcopy health records into BCH’s electronic database where gaps were identified, and included generating a new database for additional climate-sensitive health outcomes.

Sheri, Kate and Vivienne in front of a Caravan plane

Kate and Vivienne strengthened existing partnerships with BCH by offering to do an additional task at their request. Whilst entering data for the hospital that would be useful for IHACC as well, Kate and Vivienne conducted a health records system evaluation. The research required they conduct semi-structured interviews (11), a focus group (1) and a preliminary results sharing meeting. The research was loosely based on the CDC Guidelines for Evaluating Public Health Surveillance Systems. The interviews were conducted first and informed the participatory research and methods in the focus group. Proportional piling activities were used to prioritize resources for system improvements in the future. Similarly, in the preliminary results sharing meeting on Kate and Vivienne’s final day in Buhoma, the previous research informed the process. Based on the priorities identified in the focus group, the meeting participants were asked to sort the priorities based on the time required to complete task. Kate and Vivienne are preparing a plain-language report for the hospital presently, and will share the results with the hospital again soon.

Kate and Vivienne with focus group meeting participants at BCH

Kate and Vivienne returned to Kampala for 3 days at the end of their trip to meet with the IHACC research team again and report back on their adventures. In addition to discussing the data that was collected from hardcopy records, discussions were primarily focused on generating additional recommendations for the health records system evaluation.

Kate, Didas, and Vivienne

While in Uganda, Kate and Vivienne engaged in a variety of other community activities. Hiking, sharing suppers, shopping in town, visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and hospital socials were great ways to integrate into the community and forge great relationships. They even participated in nurse training sessions for nutrition and had cooking lessons to make chapattis! Additionally, Kate and Vivienne took advantage of their time in Uganda to seek out wildlife at Murchison Falls in the northwest and at Queen Elizabeth National Park in the central west. They had the great opportunity to see elephants, giraffes, warthogs, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, antelope, and more! No lions, but both Kate and Vivienne hope they will see a lion in future fieldwork in Uganda.

Kate and Vivienne at Murchison Falls

Both Kate and Vivienne had a wonderful time in Uganda, made many friends in Buhoma and Kampala, and look forward to the opportunity to return!