Women of Uganda
The past 4 days here in Uganda have been filled with amazing experiences and personal interactions, most notably with some of the women of Uganda. I would like to share a few impressions here: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sister Angela: The heart of Nawanyago Clinic. She is a kind, calm, and skilled provider dedicated to helping the community. We arrived to the clinic and observed her scanning a woman 16 weeks pregnant. This husband and wife had come from another clinic that told the patient there was no baby—they did not think she was pregnant. The couple came to Nawanyago as they heard the ultrasound could help them SEE the baby. Sister Angela demonstrated a naturally caring bedside manner and explained to both the patient and her husband the importance of coming to clinic. Before I arrived everyone spoke very highly of Sister Angela. I agree that she is one of a kind and a cornerstone for making ITW successful.
Biopsy Patient: During the breast clinic on Monday our team identified 1 patient who had a breast mass requiring a biopsy. This woman was one of the last in line to have a scan, staying late to be seen by the team despite the fact that she lived quite far away. She had never done self-breast exams but had a palpable mass, likely cancer. Throughout the entire process she was calm (stoic) and grateful, thanking us for our work. Her life could change dramatically with a diagnosis of cancer and it reinforced to me the importance of including treatment navigation in our algorithm. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gertrude: On the walk back from the Kamuli Mission Hospital after the breast biopsy, we met Gertrude. “Hallo! Hallo!” She was wearing a school uniform, had closely cropped hair, tattered shoes. She followed us for a while, ran ahead, lagged behind. “Hallo!” She is 13 and was on a break from school strolling the dusty dirt road where there are shopkeepers selling their wares on one side and boda bodas zooming along on the other. She smiled non-stop and engaged us with conversation and eye contact. “I want to be like you. I want to be a doctor,” she said. We told her to study hard and follow her dreams. Perhaps one day we will see her as staff at the hospital. I don’t know if that is a potential reality for her, but I hope it could be.
The breast biopsy project and my experiences so far here in Uganda have reminded me how radiology can cross borders. I appreciate this opportunity and look forward to continuing my relationship with ITW and the people of Uganda.
Christina Cinelli, MD