Our UNC Interns are about to wrap up their time in Uganda. Check out what they have been learning along the way.
Sadly, a lot of HIV patients in Northern Uganda are used to waiting many long hours for treatment, and even being berated for not understanding health treatments or forgetting to take their pills. In Kitgum, Uganda, New Life Medical Center is changing what it means to live positively (as in HIV-positive) one patient at a time. This summer, the clinic is getting a big upgrade, so it’s a perfect time to strengthen New Life’s vision of transforming the way HIV patients are cared for.
Right now my fellow intern and I are preparing the clinic’s staff to carry out projects designed to improve the already transformational, revolutionary work that New Life does. If any staff member attends all of the training sessions that we offer, we dub them a Quality Champion. I’ve spent wonderful afternoons talking with staff members one-on-one, hearing their passion for what they do and the great ideas that flow from that. After so many awesome conversations, I am excited at the possibilities of what the future holds for New Life.
If there is one thing I believe about learning, it is that the process should be absolutely captivating, and I envisioned our trainings as informal and interactive. There is so much to learn, for both the staff and us interns! This past week has demanded that all of us explore different ways of thinking. Brianne and I adapted our training to be more conversational, and we asked everyone to stretch themselves to consider all possibilities. There are so many tools I want to pass on, but I realized that keeping the essentials always before us is more important.
What does it mean to be a quality champion here at New Life? As I reflect on the past week, I learned that the it’s not necessarily about making detailed plans or coming up with the next brilliant work system. To me, being a Quality Champion actually means inspiring each other to treat every patient like family and following through on work begun. Everyone here believes it’s the right thing to do.
Though seemingly simple, this quality of patient care is rare in Northern Uganda. Thanks to New Life Medical Center, however, the reality for HIV-positive patients is taking a turn for the better.