My internship as pre-midwife in Uganda

20 May, 2017, Camilla Kirkegaard, Pre-midwife

In spring of 2017 I was on a two months internship in Uganda at Mbarara Referral Hospital. The two months in Uganda did not only develop my professional skills but did also do something for me on a personal level. I have experienced the African culture and saw the conditions in a developing country, positive as negative.

At the hospital I participated in an incredible number of happy and life-confirming moments as a midwife intern. In the maternity department, I have seen countless babies enter the world, both naturally and by caesarean. It is in itself a gift to experience this. To see how a painful process like a birth can end up in a huge smile on the mother’s lips when her beautiful and healthy baby has been born and the gratitude in her eyes that we have helped her, if only just by holding her hand through the painful labor, is amazing.

I never forget the day Mary and I watched a birth with our mentor Rubina. The mother who was giving birth had strong pains and there is no smile, just the pain to see in her face. It is her first child she and she has her sister with her. After holding her hand for a while, a healthy little girl is born, and immediately there is a huge smile on her lips, and she gave her sister a high five. This is the moment where your heart melts. It was a truly amazing and life-confirming experience, it makes it all worth so much.

At the hospital, I have also seen midwives, doctors and nurses help when needed at the different departments and I have experienced how premature babies or malnourished children are being investigated and get the necessary help until they are strong enough to go with their mother home. So despite the fact that it is clear that the hospital is located in a developing country, with limited resources and that the conditions are bad for many, help and care is available to people, and that’s what matters.

Besides the hospital internship, I also had incredible experiences in the African country. We often visited a orphanage where it is clear how little is needed to make the children happy. It was great to be able to come there and give

the kids, whether it was newborns or slightly bigger children, a little attention, and see how it really was appreciated. The children simply loved when we came and played with them. We also visited a local school several times during our stay, not so far from where we lived, we were on a safari tour, and on the coolest weekend trip to Jinja, where we sailed in kayaks, drove ATVs, bungee jumped, rode on horses and river rafted. It was the wildest weekend ever, filled with adrenaline and challenging, but great experiences that we could share with each other.

The stay was a lifetime experience. It has certainly confirmed me in my choice of study, it has helped to prepare for, what I hope will by my future career and has with its amazing, exciting and frightening experiences, developed me as a person. The stay has made me stronger and has challenged me on both a professional and human level. I’ve also met some amazing people, whom I’ve shared all of this with, and who, I’m sure, will  become my friends for life.

I warmly recommend this trip to anyone who should consider it. It was for me the best trip ever since I have had some amazing experiences and met some lovely people and it was definitely a place you do not want to leave.

 

  • Camilla Kirkegaard, Pre-midwife

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