Meera Gopalakrishnan: Leaving on a jet plane...

Today is our last day in Uganda. We were at dinner with the entire team at a restaurant overlooking lake Victoria, singing along to “leaving on a jet plane”, when it hit me……I will miss this place and all the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. It’s strange how a place I was apprehensive about visiting a week ago; I now feel a connection to. Maybe it was the genuine warmth that people have in them, maybe it’s the can-do attitude despite the hardships, maybe it’s just walking a mile with people in need… I really can’t explain it. I am very grateful to Dr. DeStigter and ITW for inviting me on this trip and to the ITW-Africa team for the hospitality that was afforded to me. Here is a message from Dr. DeStigter, President and Co-founder of ITW

As for me, this trip was a marketer’s dream come true. Every insight is an adrenaline rush that kept me going until the next one and there were many! Besides market insights, I have seen firsthand that along with education, access to affordable, high quality care is essential to strengthening communities. Strong communities are more informed healthcare consumers and make better health related choices. I have also learned that technology is one element of the ecosystem needed to bring affordable, high quality care to resource constrained areas. In order to optimize the process of healthcare delivery and consumption, we need a holistic solution that combines technology innovation with new care delivery models utilizing locally available skill level along with community education and sensitization.

At a personal level, this has been a very meaning experience that I will always remember and cherish. As a team, we must have clicked about a thousand photos during the trip but this is the one that stand out.

This photo was taken on the way to Nawanyago. I see hope, ambition, strength and the drive to succeed in those little eyes. I also see disease and death in the background, trying to hold them back. We have a choice to make, either stay on the sidelines or find ways to empower them. The choice is pretty clear to me. Goodbye Uganda- ‘til next time.

On a lighter note, some local jargon I picked up along the way…

Irish- some of us call it potato

Stoney – my new beverage of choice. It tastes like ginger ale but so much better.

G-nut sauce – a purple concoction made up of ground peanuts, makes everything taste better.

Chapatti and chicken on a stick – Yum!

The Ugandan handshake – This one is hard to explain, you’ll just have to stop by my desk when you are in Andover.

- Meera Gopalakrishan Philips Healthcare

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