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My GEMx Elective Placement At Kiambu Leavel 5 Hospital Under Kenyatta University

Filed under: GEMx Regional Exchanges Uncategorized

Post by WAMUBIRIGWE EMMANUEL MAKERERE, a medical student at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (Uganda) who completed a elective exchange at Kenyatta University School of Health Sciences (Kenya)

Acknowledgement

Meeting the GEMx students of Kenyatta University

Meeting with GEMx students of Kenyatta University

I am grateful to the Global Educational Exchange in Medicine and Health Professions (GEMx) for this opportunity to participate in the exchange program at Kenyatta University and facilitating my electives period and stay in Kenya.

I would also like to appreciate Ms. Faith Nawagi the African GEMx representative, Dr.Ssinabulya Isaac GEMx coordinator at Makerere University and Ms. Phiona the assistant coordinator for international programs at MakCHS. Dr.Kahiga Titus, GEMx coordinator at Kenyatta University and Madam Dorothy for the good reception at Kenyatta University.

Dr.Ngatia Justus the chairman obstetrics and gynecology department Kenyatta University. Dr. Were Francis, my supervisor at Kenyatta University and the fourth year students I was rotating with, thank you for making my rotation wonderful.

Travels

At KICC, Nairobi town view.

At KICC, Nairobi town view.

It was on 25th May when we boarded the modern coast bus heading to Nairobi. We set off at around 10:45pm. All my colleagues Muhumuza Mark, Agaba Kenneth,Turyamureba William and Isingoma Simon were all on board on the same bus.

However, it being night, we all slept off and woke up at the Busia boarder for the check up and we cleared everything. Our first stop over was in Nakuru town where I bought some breakfast. The price of the coffee was 100ksh and I felt it was so cheap but when I tried converting to Uganda shillings, it’s when I felt it was quite expensive.

We arrived in Nairobi safe and luckily enough, Madam Dorothy didn’t take long to come pick us up and she took us to Destiny park hostel in Kahawa Wendani, which would become our new home for the next four weeks.

First day

I did my clinical rotation at Kiambu level 5 Hospital

I did my clinical rotation at Kiambu level 5 Hospital

At the hostel we found some people there and these would be our first friends in Kenya, the likes of Derrick. Madam Dorothy got us lunch served in the dining room; we had rice and meat on our first day in Kenya. Later on, Derrick showed us around that day, there was a pool table and we started by spending part of the evening playing pool.

We moved around the place Kahawa while we were going for our supper with Derrick.

Food

Food seemed to be a shock at first because what seemed to be snacks back in Uganda was main food in Kenya. There was a variety of food in Kenya, chapatti, beans, meat, dengu, matumbo, ugali etc.

Their matooke wasn’t made like in Uganda. It was a little different and people eat one type of food at ago, they don’t mix all varieties at ago. Most people were eating chapo(chapatti) with beans which looked weird because back home, such food was eaten when someone ran out of options that day and was completely broke.

They have very good fish; my best meal I ate was ugali with fish plus some greens. I ate that meal every Sunday supper. It was my best. However normal days at hospital I used to eat rice, beans, dengu, ugali, matumbo, chapo depending what I wanted that particular day.

I also had a chance to eat the local food ‘mukimo’ it’s a mixture of smashed irish potatoes, maize, pumpkin leaves. It appeared greenish and it had a very good taste. I liked it most with meat. Also had a chance to eat githeri, amixture of beans and maize fried together. I didn’t enjoy it that much though.

People and the language

One particular thing I liked was the fact that these people have one common language they all speak, Swahili. It makes communication so easy. Of course I found it a challenge because I didn’t know the language. However, by the end of my stay, I had learnt some few words and phrases. How to greet, asking for price of something, asking for food. I had friends who always told me which word to use.

The people are so friendly and welcoming and always willing to help in case your lost or don’t know where to go. They were always willing to teach me a few Swahili words for survival around.

I made some good friends in Kenya, Ivy Reni, Onsare, Gibs, Felix, Bonniface and we have always kept in touch with them. They all promise to come to Uganda very soon.

In terms of transport, I was used to boda boda in Kampala but in Nairobi they are very rare. However the matatu are similar to ours in Uganda. But the matatus are not allowed within the city center so I used the bus mostly when going to the city center then matatu when going to campus, going to other places outside the city center.

There were the taku taku, I got a chance to board one while going from the by-pass to go and have chama choma. I had never sat in any of them, they are comfortable but so scaring, I always had a feeling they were going to knock it because it’s very small and sharing the road with big vehicles. But it was very safe.

Weather and climate

We were in Nairobi around the rainy season, it was really cold both day and night. I wasn’t used to wearing sweater whole day but Nairobi made me get used.

Hospital work

Fellow students rotating in obstetrics and Gynecology at Kiambu Hospital

Fellow students rotating in
obstetrics and Gynecology at
Kiambu Hospital

I was doing my rotation from Kiambu hospital level 5. It’s a county referral hospital of Kiambu county. I used to go to hospital in the University bus together with other medical students in the morning. We had different buses going at different times so you had a chance to board a bus that is convenient for the timing.

I was rotating in the obstetrics and gynecology department. I was oriented by the class representative, Onsare together with Ivy Reni. There were different wards, the gynecology ward, antenatal ward, postnatal ward, outpatient clinics and the theatre.

I decided to rotate in all these departments at least to have a feel of everything. I used to clerk patients with the help of my friends from Kenyatta University because of the language barrier. Presented to the doctors and discussed different conditions and their management. I had a chance to attend all the lectures organized in that period.

I also attended the labor suite where I mainly assisted the nurses in delivering mothers, went to theatre during obstetrics days and gynecological days. I had a chance to witness procedures that I had not seen in Mulago hospital especially the gynecological procedures. I also witnessed ward procedures like the manual vacuum aspiration.

The doctors were willing to teach and they demonstrated to us different skills we needed to learn. They were good and explained every question you asked during the teaching. I enjoyed mostly the bed side teachings where we had to clerk the patient, present to the doctor then we discuss the patient and management with the doctor. I had a very good experience with my rotation.

Social life

At the Biennial Infectious Disease Conference Nairobi Hospital

At the Biennial Infectious Disease Conference Nairobi Hospital

Socially Kenyans were nice people. The people we were staying with were very good, we became friends and used to watch television together, we used to play pool together especially in the evenings back from hospital. We used to prepare our own food on some days but we mostly used to buy from the nearby restaurants.

On weekends, we used to go out to some good places around. We got one of our friends from Kenyatta university and we used to tour with him around Nairobi town. We went to the parliament, the railway station, KICC, Uhuru Park, where we had some ice cream, horse riding.

One of the things valued a lot in Kenya is nyama choma. So we had a chance to go and have a taste of this nyama choma, we boarded and went in the evening with our friends and it was really nice. We also had a chance to visit Thika and Ruiru towns. We went to Thika road mall and had some good time there.

All in all, my experience in Kenya was a wonderful one. Had never thought I would get a chance to experience a life outside my home country, but Kenya gave me that experience. Will live to remember my days I spent in Kenya.

An Ophthalmology Post-Graduate Exchange Experience in Kenya

Filed under: GEMx Post-Graduate Exchanges GEMx Regional Exchanges GEMx Student Reflections Uncategorized

Post by Dr. Vrunaben Patel, a 3rd year MMed Ophthalmology resident from University of Zambia, who recently completed a GEMx Regional Exchange at the COECSA Institution,  Lighthouse for Christ Eye Centre, Mombasa Island, Kenya

doctor in front of care center

In front of Lighthouse for Christ  Eye Centre, Mombasa Island, Kenya

After all the pre-trip emails and detail fixing I finally sat on my flight to Mombasa, the full moon shining bright right outside my seat window. I was received at the airport by a friendly Lighthouse member of staff (got to read my name off a placard). Clean, convenient and safe housing was provided within the eye centre grounds.

THE EYE CENTRE EXPERIENCE

Day one at Lighthouse I met both the consultant ophthalmologists based there. I was shown around the whole centre by the medical director and introduced to all the staff. First word I learnt in Swahili was ‘karibu’=’welcome’ as I was greeted warmly by everyone, including patients I was introduced to. During my elective, I spent most of my time seeing patients in the general clinic as well as the cornea and paediatric clinic. Interesting cases I got to discuss with the consultants included persistent diabetic clinically significant macular oedema, neovasular age related macular degeneration, high myopia in toddler, solar macular burns, branch/central retinal vein occlusions, ocular toxoplasmosis, amblyopia, recurrent corneal erosions, corneal graft complications and viral illness related uveitis.

 

Doctor performing and eye examination on an adult patient

Examining a patient in general clinic

Doctor in scrubs performing surgery

Performing eyelid graft surgery

Had a few clinical meetings as well, some cases discussed were central serous chorioretinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, oculocardiac reflex, and driver examination. My elective period included two weeks of screening patients and surgeries with visiting paediatric and corneal specialists. I got a chance to observe some penetrating keratoplasty surgeries, Descemets Stripping Endothelial keratoplasty and phacoemulsification; a totally new experience for me. Surgeries I did included 7 small incision cataract surgeries, 2 conjunctival growth excision biopsies, 1 pterygium excision and auto graft, 1 intravitreal injection, eyelid full thickness skin graft, anterior vitrectomy, examination under anaesthesia, and suturing corneal laceration/graft. I also did some dry and cycloplegic refraction using a phoropter for the first time.

plate with local cuisine

Local meal- ugaali and leafy vegetable

THE MOMBASA EXPERIENCE

Within walking distance of the eye centre lays the town centre of Mombasa Island. Stalls, supermarkets, places of worship all accessed easily nearby. Mostly I would be accompanied by a colleague from the eye centre while sometimes I was able to take walks around the town by myself and went to some local attractions like Fort Jesus. I also got to visit the public beaches on the mainland Mombasa and shopping malls. I was able to appreciate some similarities with Zambian culture- the matatus (mini buses) used for longer distances; ugaali (Nshima) and muchicha (leafy vegetable) as the staple meal. Other foods commonly found were cassava chips, dates, cashew nuts, mabuyu, and fresh coconut water.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Practice at Lighthouse was just like an extension of the work environment from Zambia though I missed having fellow registrars to interact with most of the time. The staff had different levels and exposure to ophthalmology training and so I had a good learning and teaching exchange. It was a minimum-stress environment on most days. I am sincerely grateful to the staff at Lighthouse for an enlightening and happy experience during my elective. I am also thankful to the GEMx team and my school for making this trip possible. Experience, be it that of oneself or of another, is definitely the best teacher and that is what this elective was for me.

Overwhelmed by Good Hearts and Good People

Filed under: GEMx Global Network GEMx Student Ambassador Network GEMx Student Reflections Uncategorized

Post by Syafaf Humaira Binti Aman, global exchange student from Penang Medical College (Malaysia) who recently completed a GEMx Exchange at University of Sharjah in United Arab Emirates.

Who knew, a split-second decision of applying for GEMx Electives, and travelling alone to a country which was 5000km away from home would bring such an impact to my life – especially my medical student life. My name is Syafaf Humaira Aman and I am currently a final year medical student from Penang Medical College, Malaysia.

I’ve always known by my friends as a person who would leap into any great opportunities that comes and this was definitely one of those opportunities that I had decided to venture upon. Despite of that statement making me sound all very brave and courageous, there was still a hint of nervousness and anxiety when I got on the plane, heading to the UAE for my electives. This was the first time I solo-travelled, my first time going to a country that I am very unfamiliar with, and also my first time being a part of a new student community – alone.

Smiling young woman and young man by palm trees shops and restaurants

With Fuad, the student ambassador from University of Sharjah

All the worries and anxiousness slowly started to dissipate away when I was greeted by Fuad, the student ambassador from University of Sharjah (UoS) and his friend Dalia at the airport. Starting from the first meet up, up until the very last day of my stay in UoS, they had definitely helped me a lot – from helping me to settle down in my new dorm, helping the administrative officer to arrange my hospital posting, and introducing me to most of their friends so that I wouldn’t feel very lonely throughout my stay. I truly owe them a lot, as it was so much easier for me to blend in and get used to the new campus life with their help.

One thing I’ve learnt a lot from this experience is actually travelling alone isn’t as bad as I thought it would. It used to be a scary thought back then, but after this elective programme, I’ve came to learn that more opportunities tend to open up when you travel alone. When you’re all alone, you’ll be forced to get out of your comfort zone, and you’ll be ‘pushed’ to make a whole bunch of new friends. Without you even realizing, you’ll find yourself meeting new people, making connections with people that you’ve never intended to meet, and getting inspired by their life stories. This includes meeting a fellow Malaysian occupational therapist who had been working in the UAE for the past 8 years. It was amazing to get to hear her life experiences over there.

As for my clinical posting, I was being posted to Al-Baraha Hospital in Dubai under the Surgical Department. Truth to be told, it was definitely one of the best clinical experience I’ve ever went through my whole life as a medical student!

student posing with group of fellow students and instructors

With surgical team in Al Baraha Hospital, Dubai

The surgical team consisted of this set of surgeons of different nationalities, with years of experiences working at different regions of the world before. One thing I am truly awed was to see how dedicated these surgeons were, in both healing the patients and teaching the students. Despite their tight schedule during the OT days, they would still make time to teach us in the operation theatre, as well as in between the surgeries. Sometimes they would let us hang around at the surgeons’ lounge and they would share their experiences with us students too.

Instructing Surgeon and student in surgery

Me assisting in one of the surgeries done at the hospital while being assisted by the surgeon

During this posting too, I was fortunate enough to be given multiple chances to assist in several surgeries, guided by these aspiring surgeons. Even though the tasks that was given were pretty minor, but it was already more than I bargained for, and come to think of it, it was a fair start for me as a medical student. It was definitely a great exposure for me, one that I would never experience back home. I couldn’t help but to be thankful for these surgeons had never failed to make me feel as part as their team. At times, they would even introduce us students to the patients as the ‘training surgeons’ who had made them (the patients) feel better, and it was definitely one of the best feeling to hear the patients thanking you profusely for treating them. All in all, it was never a day that I wasn’t looking forward to step into the hospital as I knew I would be greeted by them with smiles and the day would then be occupied with bed side teachings, teachings at the outpatient department and multiple case discussions with the whole surgical team.

smiling students outside of hospital

With my groupmates after our daily clinical bedside teachings

My groupmates in Al-Baraha Hospital were truly amazing too. They were all very friendly and my four weeks at the hospital would have never been the same without them. In between the bedside teachings, or after we’ve all clerked patients, we would then be discussing the cases together, sometimes recalling what the surgeons have taught us by the end of each day. Sometimes these so called ‘hangout’ sessions would be filled with us sharing stories about each other’s families, travel stories, and favourite past times. One thing I find interesting in the UAE is that, all of the students there mostly originates from somewhere else outside of the UAE. Some of my groupmates for instance, were originally from Syria, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt and many more. Although they have stayed in the UAE for most of their live, they would still go back there once in a while and they would then share their stories and how their culture are back home. Not just that, they would also be the ones to prepare a long list for me consisting of interesting places I need to visit, and food that I need to try throughout my stay.

smiling girl by waterfront

Me at Madinat Jumeirah, with the Burj Al-Arab in the background

On the weekends, I would then take the opportunity to travel around Dubai, and explore the city as much as possible. The famous Burj Khalifa, Burj Al-Arab, the souqs and the beaches in Dubai were all truly breath-taking. I had even managed to make my way to Abu Dhabi on one of the long weekends during my stay in the UAE. Although it was pretty taxing to travel from UoS to Dubai, it was always be worth it. Taxing, because the transportations were pretty expensive, especially when you’re travelling alone, so sometimes I would need to opt for multiple forms of transportations in order to get to the places that I wanted to go. However, it definitely taught me the value of perseverance, independence and the importance of planning ahead of time.

All in all, not only I had gain ample amount of new knowledge within the medical field, but I had also obtained countless life lessons throughout this elective. It was a whole new level of experience which had definitely built my confidence and I hope that I could emulate all of these invaluable lessons throughout my life as a person, and a medical doctor in the future. I would like to extend my gratitude to GEMx for this once in a lifetime experience, and for encouraging me to step away from my comfort zone, and experience all of this. Not to forget Dr Nabil Sulaiman and Dr Osama Seif for being my supervisors over at University of Sharjah and Hospital Al-Baraha.

COMPETITION NOW OPEN: Student Projects for Health 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized

Photo of the blog author, Dr. Myron Godinho

Dr. Myron Godinho

Post by Dr. Myron A. Godinho

Research Associate,
Public Health Evidence South Asia (PHESA),
(South Asian satellite of the Cochrane Public Health Group)
Manipal University,
India.

myrongodinho@gmail.com

As a 2017 Winner of the Student Projects for Health (SPFH) competition, I can attest to the fantastic opportunity that this program offers. You will be able to showcase your student project while building networks with like-minded people. It is the perfect stepping stone for a student or early-career professional looking to explore the world of community participation projects, and learn from the best, first-hand.

Myron presenting at TUFH

Maybe you feel that your project isn’t good enough. That was how I felt when I first sent in my submission last year. Just remember that this is a student competition, and we are all learning! No project is perfect, and acknowledging limitations is the first step towards improving your next project. Moreover, while project quality is important, entries are also judged on their innovation, their impact, as well as  your commitment and participation. So don’t miss this opportunity.

Go ahead and submit your entry for the SPFH 2018 competition before February 11, 2018.   I wish you all the best!

What an inspiring endorsement by Myron! Now, here are the submission details…

The Student Projects for Health competition is supported by GEMx —a global partnership for educational exchange in medicine and the health professions—and FAIMER, and will be a feature of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) conference. The 2018 conference will be held August 16-20 in Limerick, Ireland. The theme of the conference is Community Empowerment for Health: A Multi-Sector Approach.

The Student Projects for Health competition recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions to projects that successfully promote community health and well-being. It is open to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in any course of study who have been participating in leadership roles in such projects. Approximately 15 winners will be selected. Each application will require an endorsement by a faculty member closely associated with the project.

Applications will be considered by a distinguished group of international reviewers with a wide variety of expertise in health professions education. They will base their ratings on:

1. Quality of the project
2. Degree and nature of applicant’s participation
3. Applicant’s contribution to project innovation
4. Impact of project and evidence
5. Diffusion and integration of project
6. Overall impressions

Winners will be invited to attend the conference and present their projects with posters. The award includes travel, accommodation and registration fees. Please note that if you were a winner last year, you will not be eligible to apply this year.

The deadline for application is February 11, 2018.

Applications may be submitted here:  https://faimer.fluidreview.com/res/p/student-projects-for-heal/

For more information on the conference, visit http://thenetworktufh.org/tufh2018/.

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