Yesterday the medical team from Drexel and Makerere, who spent 2 days in training at our hotel, traveled north to the outskirts of Kampala to a village called Komamboga. There is a health center there where last year’s VTT from Drexel worked. Now the trained team members began training other midwives at Komamboga in the “Helping Babies Breath” Program.
Today the team members will be back at Komamboga for “Helping Mothers Survive” training.
Dr. Deogratias Sekimpi, Past District Governor of Rotary District 9211, is the Ugandan project coordinator for our Global Grant and the VTT. He was the team leader for the Volunteer Training Team that traveled to Pennsylvania last spring. A member of the Rotary Club of Kampala North, (the primary Ugandan sponsor of the project), Deo seems to know everyone in Kampala. Today he arranged for Shannon, Michelle, and me to meet with a number of public health officials to discuss a variety of public health and safety issues facing Ugandans.
We held formal meetings with the Department of Occupational Safety & Health within the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour, & Social Development; the Directorate of Public Health & Environment in the Kampala Capital City Authority; and the Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health.
Drexel University has a special interest in global initiatives. Dr. Shannon Marquez is the Associate Vice Provost for Global Health at Drexel. She currently works in over 20 African nations on public health and environmental issues. As a matter of fact, she thinks this is her 42nd trip to the continent. So having Dr. Sekimpi set up today’s meetings for us was important in Dr. Marquez' understanding the public health issues facing Uganda. We discussed occupational health and safety in agriculture, oil & gas, manufacturing, and construction industries. We also learned of problems that the Uganda people face with smoking, alcoholism, and particularly serious problems with pesticide applications on farm fields.
Last evening I visited the Rotaract Club of Mengo, invited there by Club President Basha Kaceb as their speaker. Rotaract is Rotary for university students and young adults. What a great group of motivated and highly educated young people! About 45 of them gathered for their weekly meeting. Basha invited me to talk about our maternal and child health project, and Rotary Foundation Humanitarian Grants. We exchanged club banners and had a social hour centered around Valentine’s Day.