What a week! After finishing the weekend with a game drive in Murchison Park (we saw tons of animals, including a male lion up close! But I think the giraffes were my favorite), our team split up to head to different regions of Uganda. Omair and I just got back from 2 days in the Eastern region of Uganda, and beat the Kampala traffic to make it back to the office just in time for lunch. The roads here are unbelievable – full of the biggest potholes I’ve ever seen, and travelling can take forever because of the poor road conditions and amount of trucks on the road.

Our team is in Uganda doing work for PSI, an international NGO working on healthcare access in developing countries. PSI’s local affiliate here is PACE, and they have been a great client to work for.Everyone has been so generous with their time and hospitality, and has made us all feel at home here. Our project consists of traveling throughout the country and visiting private clinics that PACE has recruited to be part of the ProFam network, which focuses on promoting long term family planning methods. We interview the providers there, as well as some patients, and are writing a case study of the operations to show how social franchising of healthcare can be a powerful model in developing countries. It’s been great to get to talk to the midwives and doctors in the clinics and see how far family planning has progressed here.

Uganda has the second highest birth rate in the world, which creates a myriad of problems in terms of healthcare, economic sustainability, education, and more. The median age here is only 15, and it’s been interesting to see how few older people you see here. Visiting the clinics and hearing about how PACE has helped them promote family planning in the community is really interesting and inspiring. And the clinics are so happy to have visitors! Yesterday Omair and I visited our last clinic around 7pm, and the midwives were so happy to see us. The doctor wanted to take several pictures of all of us in front of the clinic, and the laboratory technician wanted to show us the malaria virus under the microscope. It was a really great visit. The clinics seem so appreciative of PACE, and it’s nice to be able to contribute in a small way to PACE’s mission. Tomorrow the whole team is heading the southwest region to finish up our interviews, and then we’ll spend the weekend in Bwindi, where some of us will do gorilla tracking, and others will do some hiking and hang out. Then it’s back to Kampala to finish up our report and present to PACE. I only hope we can give PACE some good recommendations to increase the great work that they’re doing.

—Emily Battle

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