Saturday, February 28, 2015

“Up Country” – Some Relaxation before Conducting HBB – HMS Training in the Iganga Area

VTT Drexel Wave 2 departed Sunday morning to Jinja to prepare for our visits to the Health Centers in Namungalwe and Namalemba for 3 days of HBB and HMS training… 17 anxious midwives waiting. 
The road to Jinja, normally can be a 3 hour ordeal… we made it in 2.  It is was hot day but Jinja is the City and the Source of the Nile… and is pleasant and plush. The dust and the noise of Kamapala is left behind.
In Jinja, we settle in at the 2 Friends Guest house.. a quaint oasis of a resort, African style.  No AC but fans and a swimming pool outside in a well groomed patio area. We loved this break.

A day of R&R what better way to start than a the home of a local Rotarian… Rtn. Sarah from the Kampala North club has a home near to the 2 Friends Guest House… we stop by enter the gate and lunch is served… we broke bread, shared stories or our mission and got to meet her family and we made another Rotary friend, furthering our VTT’s mission. And perhaps recruited a future Drexel Student.

An nice local guide took us to the Source of the Nile and we hired a boat… like an tourist spot… loaded with places to purchase Uganda crafts… it  was fun to dicker a bit.

Ron Smith getting in rythm with the locals 

We took a quiet but very informative trip out on the Nile where it meets Lake Victoria, Somalie, our guide was great.  We were taken along the shore of the dammed Nile, underneath us lies Owens Falls… How appropriate, Dr. Owen is with us and seeing the source of the Nile for his first time. An item of note, there is a monument to Mahatma Ghandi since some of his ashes were released here into the Nile. Bit of Trivia… Ghandi’s ashes were spread along the five great Rivers of the world, other than the Nile, can you name them.

We saw beautiful birds and river/lake wildlife and saw many fishermen. Even a tilapia fish farm.

                                          Dr. Owen at the Source of the Nile

Pelicans on Lake Victoria talapia farm

We got to stand out on the confluence of Lake Victoria and the Nile… what an impressive site.  Also the source of Nile Special Beer

Later that evening we had a final “dip” in the pool and a nice dinner… as we prepared for the next three days of training

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Gift to Kampala, Celebrating Rotary’s Birthday – Rotary Kampala North Charity Walk & Health Camp

Annually, celebrating the Rotary International’s “birthday” the Rotary Club of Kampala North organizes a Rotary Walk and Event… this year the Charity Walk includes a free Health Camp for Kampala area residents. The Charity Walk joins all the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Kampala area to bring recognition of Rotary in Uganda and provides fund raising opportunities to the Kampala area Rotary and Rotaract Clubs… Over 1,000 Rotarian start their walk along Kampala’s Rotary Way and end at a Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) fair grounds where the Health Camp and scores of Rotary Club booths are set to fundraise and to raise community awareness for Rotary.
VTT Drexel Joined the walk and the Health Camp, Obstetricians, Pediatricians and Nurse-Midwives from Drexel joined attending to an screening children and adults in …

Here our Drexel Doctors join their fellow Ugandan doctors at the health camp

Over 500 patients were seen and … some were referred for additional healthcare..

Truly a “service” to the community made possible through Rotary… Happy Birthday Rotary …. Serving fellow man for 110 years !

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Farewell - VTT Drexel - 1st Wave Departs

Drexel University hosted a Farwell, with teh VTT Drexel members thanking all the Kamapla area paricitpants from Makerere University and Kamapala North Rotary.

At the meeting, they spoke from their hearts about what they have done but more important what they will be doing to make their efforts sustainable.

Exhausted but satisfied their efforts have made a difference in improving Maternal & Child Healthcare Educational… The 1st wave departs their Ugandan home for their friends, family and colleagues back in Philadelphia… they are armed with more ideas and enthusiasm to continue and expand what has happened in Year 2 of this planned 3 year Rotary Foundation funded effort… they are already thinking about how to pursue and fund this healthcare education project well beyond this initial 3 – year effort.

Saying good bye to
-  Gregg Alleyene, Ob-Gyn
- Dr. Yanick Vibert, Paed
- Dr. Shannon Marquez, School of Public Health and V. Provost of Global Studies
- Dr. Laniece Coleman and Dr. Michelle Rogers had departed a day earlier and missed all the celebrations... Thanks for being again part of VTT Drexel 

As the others below complete the VTT Drexel, training in the up-country Health Centers
- Dr. Owen Montgomery, Ob-Gyn
- Dr Ryan Smith, Paed
- Dr Marilyn Mendoza, Paed         
- Margaret McMahon, Mid-Wife
- Dr. Ron Smith (engineer :- ) )         

A Milestone Agreement Between Drexel University  & Makerere University
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Drexel University & Makerere University was signed today… a seminal event in making the Global Grant on Maternal & Child Healthcare education sustainable. Through the efforts of Rotary Clubs of Blue Bell (Pennsylvania USA) and Kampala North (Uganda) and the support of Rotarians in Rotary Districts 7430, 7450, 7500 in USA and Rotary District 9211, these two prestigious institutions are entering a 5 year (and longer) collaborative agreement between ALL the college and departments in these institutions… not only their respective Colleges of Medicine and College of Health Sciences. The MoU establishes an understanding and framework to support a deeper, long lasting collaboration that will exchange faculty, researchers and students in all disciplines, medicine, engineering, education, law, hospitality and more…  This is sustainability… a main aim of Rotary Foundation Global Grants… defined as a project whose results continue to benefit the communities served, long after the Rotary Foundation funds are expended.

An excerpt from the agreement…

Drexel University  & Makerere University join in the following agreement for cooperation in promoting the advancement of education and learning through student and faculty exchange, service, training, and research.

The parties agree to encourage the following activities in the spirit of mutual respect and sustainable partnership:
·       Collaboration in training and research in fields of mutual interest;
·       Engagement of students, faculty, and staff in community outreach and education;
·       Exchange of materials in education, research, publications and academic programming;
·       Engagement of faculty, students and staff members for participation in research, study, conferences, seminars, and workshops.
The specific details of cooperation necessary to implement the activities noted above will be negotiated between the parties subject to mutually acceptable written agreement
Collaborative research and training should enrich the pool of knowledge relevant to the parties involved and funding for such training and research should be secured with the agreement of both parties.

At the ceremony were VTT Drexel Members including Dr. Shannon Marquez representing the the President and the Provost of Drexel University, meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University his staff and the the Principal of Makerere College of Health Sciences, the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the faculty of Makererere University College of Health Sciences. Rotarians at the ceremony were Ron Smith, Blue Bell Rotary and President Jayne of Kampala North.

This agreement will now provide the basis for 5 years and then for many more to permit collaborations with all the academic programs and research and pave teh way for faculty and students to exhange.... deepening the connections bewteen the institutions.