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2019 Uganda Outreach and Training






Caitlin Tidwell, MD 

Dr. Tidwell is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and a member of the Prisma Health Richland Class of 2020.


In March of 2019, myself along with several co-residents, a few attendings, and the One World Health organization made the long trip to Masinidi, Uganda to participate in the annual out reach medical clinics. 

We landed in Entebbe late Saturday night and loaded up in vans to make the short ride to a hotel for the night. The next morning, we loaded up in several vans (all 45 of us in about 6 vans) and made the 4 hour drive from Entebbe to Masindi. As we drove on their newly built overpass and along rural (but paved) roads, we passed lines of people on the side of the road selling food, handmade clothing, furniture and so much more. It’s really impressive the amount of items that can be put on the back of a motorcycle! And let’s just say, there are no rules of the road. As we got further from the city, we started to see people working in fields “digging” as the Ugandan’s say. We saw kids getting water out of small watering holes and carrying these jugs home. Everyone was barefoot. Kids were carrying kids and mother’s were carrying babies on their backs and jugs of water on their heads. The kids

would look and see vans full of Caucasian people and start waving so vigorously!  Once we got to Hotel Masindi, we got settled in our rooms and started getting the supplies ready for clinic the next day. Once all of the medical supplies were in order, we helped the pharmacy get the medications packaged up and ready to give out. This night was the night we realized that we were going to be doing a lot of sweating being that our only means of cooling off was cold showers and a fan in the room (if you were lucky…Erica and I were!).

Monday morning, we ate breakfast and headed to a church about 30 minutes from our hotel where we set up our first out reach clinic.  When we pulled up to the church, there was a line of people wrapped around the building. We were all set up in 1 room, and it was LOUD. There were 9 providers, and we saw a total of 278 people!  

On Tuesday, we went to a school. This day we saw a little girl that was around 8 or 9 years old. Over the last several years, she’d developed a mass that was growing out of her nose making it difficult for her to swallow, eat, and breathe at times. She was able to be taken to the government hospital in Uganda where she was able to have this mass removed. I think this was the most memorable and probably life changing help we were able to provide while there. 

Wednesday-Friday, we continued to go to more out reach clinics. Wednesday, we drove over an hour to get to a school in a very rural community. School was out this day so that everyone could be sure and come. Each day that we arrived, there was a line wrapping around the buildings with people from a few months old to 80s standing in the scorching sun hoping to be seen.  We diagnosed and treated many cases of Malaria. We saw several parasitic infections including cutaneous larvae migrans which was something none of us residents had seen before. We were lucky enough to have one of the ultrasound fellows come along with multiple ultrasound machines. We were able to diagnose a child with a large VSD as well as do MANY ultrasounds including cardiac, OB/GYN, and soft tissue.

Friday afternoon, we packed all of our things and headed to Murchison Falls National Park to go “glamping” and on a Safari. One thing I haven’t mentioned up to this point is that anytime we want to go anywhere, we would load about 15 people deep into vans meant for about 12 people, roll the windows down for our “air conditioner”, and bounce along dirt roads until we arrived at the next location. The drive to Murchison Falls was about 4.5 hours. By the time we arrived there, we were sweaty and covered in red dirt. We had a DELICIOUS feast waiting on us at Murchison Lodge which was set along the Nile River. It was beautiful. Prior to turning in for the night, we had to find an escort with a flashlight to walk us to our tents in case we encountered a hippo on the path. Supposedly flash lights scare hippos off… I’m still not convinced. We were also warned of keeping our bathroom doors locked in case a baboon decided to come for a visit. 

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early and ferried across the Nile River to go on the safari. This was such a cool experience! We saw giraffes, hyenas, warthogs, elephants, and many other animals. 

Sunday the crew that came with One World Health flew back to the states, but Dr. Brown and us residents stayed behind to spend a few days teaching about trauma, cardiac disease, hypertension, etc to some of the providers at MKMC. This was by far my favorite part. It was such a cool experience, and they asked great questions. They were so appreciative and eager to learn. 

Overall, this was an awesome experience. The chance to help people that are truly appreciative and need it more than we can fathom on a daily basis is rejuvenating and rewarding. I hope that I have many chances to go again in the future.