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WHAT YOU DO
This program is in partnership with Child and Family Health International (CFHI). Become a part of the community in Kabale, Uganda, and learn about about KIHEFO’s (Kigezi Healthcare Foundation) groundbreaking, integrated approach to addressing and improving maternal and child health. KIHEFO is a leader is taking the lead in southwestern Uganda in providing access to healthcare services, especially in remote regions. KIHEFO also creates and implements innovative strategies to reduce poverty.
With KIHEFO, you will rotate through the main general clinic, as well as the newly built Maternal and Child Hospital where you will learn from physicians, nurses, medical officers, lab and ultrasound technicians. At the HIV/AIDS clinic, sit in on counseling sessions, shadow health workers who conduct testing and learn how to reduce rates of mother to child transmission. Accompany outreach local teams in a rural village and explore how nutrition and HIV are closely linked. Other opportunities include rotating at a nutrition center that treats and prevents maternal and child malnutrition, visiting traditional birth attendants and healers, and joining a local radio program that provides public health education to the community.
Primary Care Clinic and Maternal/Child Hospital
In the main general primary care clinic, as well as the newly built Maternal and Child Hospital, you will learn from dynamic health teams including nurses, medical officers, X-ray technicians, laboratory technicians, a dental officer, and hygienist. This clinic provides health education, preventative care including vaccinations, disease detection and diagnosis, and referrals for more serious cases. Cost of services is based on a sliding-fee scale, although the majority of patients are low-income and receive treatment free of charge. In southwestern Uganda, the doctor to patient ratio is 1 to 100,000, so you will see first hand how important multidisciplinary teams members are, in getting people access to healthcare and health education. You will witness “task-sharing” where the roles usually carried out by doctors are done by nurses, clinical officers, community health workers, and others. Many students have had the opportunity to witness a live birth while shadowing at the Maternal and Child Hospital.
Rotate alongside family planning specialists and HIV positive peer educators, who provide medical treatment and social/emotional counseling for HIV positive patients. Clinic staff work in innovative ways to reduce rates of mother to child HIV transmission, and increase awareness and accessibility of HIV/AIDS treatment and family planning options. Sit in on counseling sessions, assist health workers with testing and learn how to reduce rates of mother-to-child transmission.
Outreach to Rural Villages
Conduct outreach in remote rural villages where health and dental care are delivered to those who have little or no access to health care. This rural outreach is provided to village groups, schools, churches, etc. Interact with traditional healers, birth attendants, women’s groups, people living with HIV, farmers, and others, in dialogue and development activities. Engage with community groups and partners in rural areas working on programs to improve health and economic livelihood. Programs provide families with livestock, seeds, farming tools, and education on sustainable organic farming methods.
Nutrition & Rehabilitation Center
Located across the street from the Primary Care Clinic, the Nutrition & Rehabilitation Center provides inpatient re-feeding and rehabilitation for severely malnourished children five and under. You will learn how the delicate process of bringing up a young child’s level of protein, calories, fats, and other nutrients happens. Engage with teams at the center who also work closely with caretakers to offer education and outreach on the prevention of malnutrition.
Rabbit Breeding & Training Center
This center is the first of its kind in Kabale and provides a market for buying and selling rabbits, a useful means of income generation. Learn about how rabbit rearing can improve rates of malnutrition, contribute to food security, and help poor farming families work their way out of poverty. The center is self-sustaining and currently home to dozens of rabbits.
Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Sites
If interested, you can learn about sustainable agriculture by visiting farms in the Kigezi region to exchange ideas and help local farmers implement practical solutions. This is a unique opportunity to dig deep and feel the weight of the soil alongside the local people. Ugandan farmers, mostly comprised of women, are eager to improve upon their existing methods of farming and welcome new, inventive ideas. Demonstrations include kitchen gardens or sack gardens, the making of organic pesticides, how to maximize the use of farmland, and can include anything practical and beneficial for farmers.
Arrival & Departure in Rwanda
Students arrange for flights to arrive in Kigali, Rwanda. They are picked up by KIHEFO staff and usually spend the first night in Kigali. This gives the opportunity to visit the Rwanda Genocide Memorial before being transported by van to Kabale, Uganda. At the conclusion, students are transported back to Kigali so that they can catch their international flights home.