Day 27: Six Questions with Dr. Olivia Kituuka (general surgeon)

Dr. Olivia Kituuka is the Head of the Department of Surgery at the Mulago National Referral Hospital. As the Essential Surgical Skills Coordinator with Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences’ undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs, medical director of Doctors for Africa, and partner with the Canadian Network for International Surgery, Dr. Kituuka is one busy woman. Her effervescent charm, eloquence, and passion for supporting the training and retention of surgical specialists in East Africa has made her one of my biggest role models in Kampala. With her non-existent spare time, we had an inspiring chat about her role at Mulago, her time at McMaster with the International Outreach Program (where she worked in hepatobiliary surgery with Dr. Michael Marcaccio and colleagues at the Juravinski Hospital), and the biggest challenges in promoting international surgical access.

Dr. Olivia Kituuka, Head of Mulago's Dept. of Surgery.
Dr. Olivia Kituuka, Head of Mulago’s Dept. of Surgery.

Continue reading “Day 27: Six Questions with Dr. Olivia Kituuka (general surgeon)”


Day 22: Reflections from Emergency Gyne Ward 5AA

All smiles before my first day in the Ward 5A General Gyne OR with Mulago’s scrub nurses.

Gynecology has always felt like the younger, forgotten-about sibling to obstetrics. So often, obs/gyn electives focus on the “obs,” with exciting delivery stories, pregnancy dominating charts and exams, and maternal-fetal complications striking fear into the hearts of attending staff. It was, therefore, a much-needed perspective to spend a week in Mulago’s Emergency Gynecology Ward 5AA. Continue reading “Day 22: Reflections from Emergency Gyne Ward 5AA”

Day 18: Six Questions for Dr. Sarah Nakubulwa (obstetrician/gynecologist)

Dr. Sarah Nakubulwa
Dr. Sarah Nakubulwa [1]
Dr. Sarah Nakubulwa is an obstetrician/gynecologist based at Mulago National Referral Hospital and teacher at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences. Dr. Nakubulwa’s dedication to women’s health in Kampala is far-reaching (she also completed a five month elective at McMaster University during her residency), but I must say I appreciate her on a much more personal level due to her dedication to teaching. Known as “Dr. Sarah,” she volunteered to be my supervisor for this elective, despite it being her holiday break! Continue reading “Day 18: Six Questions for Dr. Sarah Nakubulwa (obstetrician/gynecologist)”

Day 13: Reflections from High-Risk OB Ward 5C

IMG_20150731_153139I signed up for this elective alone and overconfident, armed with enthusiastic theoretical knowledge and pathetic practical skills. In hindsight, this is a great example of my bravado and stupidity, two qualities that one hopes never to find in a (future) physician. Thankfully, these personality traits have been appropriately humbled by the past week’s experience in New Mulago Hospital’s High-Risk Obstetrics (OB) Ward 5C.

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Image of New Mulago’s Ward 5C from photo essay “7 Billion Humans: Empty Posters, The Youth Bulge in Developing World” by photojournalists Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson [1] (Cover image from the National Post’s piece on Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence, where they visited Mulago [2])
Continue reading “Day 13: Reflections from High-Risk OB Ward 5C”

Day 9: What I’ve Learned About the Ugandan Healthcare System

“Uganda. Cool. Where is that? [Africa] Oh boy, like Lion King!”

“The Book of Mormon”‘s Uganda is to actual Uganda what “Disney’s The Lion King” is to actual academic study of dominance hierarchies in the Panthera leo species.

The modern-day satirical gem of Broadway musical theatre The Book of Mormon is a personal favourite of mine. South Park writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone did impressive research on the history and complexities of the United States Mormon religion, and made millions of dollars off the hysterical adventures of two Mormon elders on mission in a small rural Ugandan community. Where Parker and Stone failed dramatically, unbeknownst to most of their happy audiences, was with their woefully inaccurate depictions of Ugandan society and health [1]. Continue reading “Day 9: What I’ve Learned About the Ugandan Healthcare System”

Day 7: Reflections from Low-Risk OB Ward 14

“Sindika! Sindika nyo, sindika NYO! Ssa, ssa, ng’olabye, sister.”

After a short week in the labour ward, these Lugandan phrases (the major Bantu language of Kampala region) became second nature. A small attempt to find purpose when entering the lives of women coming through Old Mulago’s Low-Risk Obstetrics (OB) Ward 14.

“Push! Push hard, push HARD! Breathe, breathe, I’m sorry this is so difficult, sister.”

Waiting area and filing system for the week’s patients arriving to labour and deliver in Ward 14

Continue reading “Day 7: Reflections from Low-Risk OB Ward 14”

Day 6: Six Questions for Dr. Musa Waiswa (hematologist)

Dr. Musa Waiswa (25 July 2015)Dr. Musa Kasadhakawo Waiswa is the Head of Hematology in the Dept. of Medicine at Mulago Hospital, in addition to numerous roles as Medical Officer Special Grade/Honorary Lecturer at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda and Coordinator of the McMaster-Makerere International Outreach Program (IOP). Dr. Waiswa was the first physician in Uganda I connected with, as he was the first contact for Dr. Peter Kagoma (hematologist and VP Academic Affairs of the Niagara Health System) when I expressed my interest in going to Mulago for a medical elective. Continue reading “Day 6: Six Questions for Dr. Musa Waiswa (hematologist)”