Being a Patient in Uganda

Our UNC interns spent the summer working at New Life Medical Center in Uganda. Well, Brianne became sick from malaria and got to experience what it's like to be an actual patient. Check out her take from the other side of the hospital curtain.

A frequent topic of conversation in my global health classes is malaria, one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide. Being from the U.S., I have easy access to the preventative medications that I took throughout my stay in Uganda. It’s a simple to follow regimen—one pill a day keeps the malaria away. Or so I thought.

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I was feeling not so great, but I didn’t want to be the dramatic American who has a fever and panics that they have a crazy, infectious disease. After a couple of days of my stubbornness getting the best of me, the clinic manager insisted I get tested.

I was called in to see the clinician and then sent to the lab for testing. I knew something was awry when the lab technician turned around slowly and asked, “Do you sleep under a mosquito net?” Uh oh. Not a good sign. I was prescribed the treatment medication and sent back to bed.

For weeks, I had been sharing that New Life provides its patients with high quality medical care. Now with first hand experience, I could say that with more confidence than ever. New Life’s slogan was on point; they are “A Center of Excellence.” I not only received excellent medical care, but I was also treated with respect and kindness, which is not guaranteed at many other facilities. Often times, the quality of a health center is measured by your comfort with taking your family there. Well in this case, I took myself and had no hesitation. I knew I was in good hands.