Earlier this month Rehabilitation Science graduate faculty, Dorian Rose, PT, PhD, spent two weeks in Kaihura, Uganda. She brought her clinical knowledge to the small village where physical therapy is an unknown profession. She tells us more about her experience in her own words:
For fourteen days between the end of Summer Session and prior to the Fall semester I had the privilege to live and serve in Kaihura, a small village in the Kyenjojo District of Uganda, a six hour drive west of the capital city of Kampala. Kaihura is home to “Bringing Hope to the Family” a non-profit, Christian faith-based organization that exists to help meet the needs of Kaihura and beyond via a medical clinic, an orphanage, a crisis pregnancy center, a nursery and primary school and a vocational school. Friends and colleagues from my PhD training days in Los Angeles (prior to Gainesville) have established “Thin Space Africa” as a means to come alongside and support “Bringing Hope to the Family” and the many needs they seek to meet in Kaihura. I was grateful to be able to join this team for the second year in a row.
“Physical therapy” is not a profession known to the village so I had the opportunity to first provide an “in-service” at the Medical Clinic regarding the profession, using medicine and nursing as a reference point. Not surprisingly, the two primary diagnoses seen at Hope Again Medical Clinic are malaria and HIV. The clinic is registered with the Ministry of Health and in conjunction with the District Health Unit provides ART (anti-retroviral therapy) treatment and free HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services. After helping with this “HIV cocktail” distribution my days were filled with seeing people both at the clinic and out in the village. A few highlights for me over those 14 days – 1) having Adolph seek me out shortly after I arrived to proudly “show off” his full knee extension bilaterally. Last year, he was starting to develop knee flexion contractures secondary to burns he had received. After rigorous 1:1 sessions last Summer and leaving him with a “home program” his ROM looked great and more importantly he was out with his buds on the football field; 2) visiting Irene with her impish smile every day at the orphanage, a young girl of 14, who appeared to be about 5, to work on her balance, gait and strength; 3) meeting Everest in his small room at 5:00 p.m. when he arrived home from school to challenge his sitting balance and strengthen his arms and in turn he showed me his shoe repair and basket weaving skills. To be sure, I received more from Adolph, Irene and Everest than I provided to them. Their gratefulness and zest for life was contagious. I’m excited as I plan to return in 2017. Feel free to contact me to hear more and find out about next year’s trip!