Last month, three of Adara’s wonderful International Medical (IMED) volunteers went to Kiwoko Hospital to work hand in hand with the staff in the neonatal intensive care unit on some new processes and procedures. Sue Prueitt is a long time Adara IMED volunteer, having provided training at Kiwoko since 2011. On this trip, she was joined by Brandie Giles, a paediatric nurse and Adara’s Clinical Programmes assistant, and Mansi Shah. Mansi is a doctor who is a 3rd year paediatric resident in the University of Washington program.


As the day gets closer to our departure, I am thinking a lot about our trip! I am excited and apprehensive. Excited because I get to see the wonderful and familiar faces of the friends I have made on previous trips. Excited to introduce two new friends to a most special place which is filled with the most dedicated and inspirational people! Excited to introduce new materials to the staff at the hospital, which will hopefully, make their job a bit easier and help them continue the wonderful work they are doing. Apprehensive about leaving my family and dog and the long flight. Apprehensive about traveling with new friends, (not to mention much younger new friends)!

Well, off we go! After about 3 minutes I realize that I did not need to be worried about traveling with these two! We are going to have a great time!! When we arrive at the Entebbe airport, Adara’s driver Godfrey’s face is easy to recognize in the crowds of people there to greet the travellers. I’m so excited for Brandie and Mansi to meet him and see Uganda and even experience the ‘African massage’, as we bump along the road to Kiwoko Hospital. As usual it is an exciting drive to Kiwoko, including a little car trouble on the way.

This trip is a bit different for me. Instead of doing the usual teaching and lecturing about neonatal illnesses, we will be exploring and getting information from the nurses about a project that we have been working on for the past year. This project involved putting together a “Guidelines of care manual” for the nursing staff. While working on this over the past year, we realized that there were a lot of things that we didn’t know and needed the input from the nursing staff. So we decided to make this a collaboration! On Monday we met with Sister Christine and made a schedule. Every day we met with the nurses to go over the guidelines we had come up with.

I must tell you, we were thrilled as to how this all went! The nurses were eager to give their input! They helped us adapt the wording and the processes so that it would be better understood by all who would be using the manual. Information in the manual included:

  • - Physical Assessment
  • - Equipment
  • - Kangaroo Mother Care
  • - Hypoglycemia
  • - Feeding
  • - Infection Control
  • - Documentation
  • - Developmental Care

We also worked on some new orientation guidelines. These are to help new nurses when they join the NICU team, to get up to speed on best practice care for tiny neonates. The NICU staff helped us design a checklist that outlines what should be included in the induction of a new nurse. The nurses seemed eager to try this out and start a new approach in orienting new staff.

The other thing that I believe will be a help is a new emergency/admission box. It is a ‘tackle box’ that we brought with us form the states. It is big enough that it will hold all the equipment that is necessary in an emergency, whether it be a ‘code’ emergency situation or an unexpected admission in the NICU. One of the NICU staff, Sam, got all the supplies together and organized the box and then we helped with the labelling! It is awesome!

The Kiwoko NICU nurse work extremely hard and have very heavy workloads. We hope that the guidelines of care manual, the orientation manual and the emergency box will lighten that load just a little and help make their jobs that little bit easier.

It was a wonderful and rewarding trip! We are so thankful to Adara for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people.

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