It has been a very busy week and I am stilling learning…… it seems that over the past 6 or so months various individuals have traveled to Kampala to order and pay for what was hoped to be the correct medications and the correct amount. After looking over the pharmacy shelves and the store room shelves …. it appears that we are over stocked on many non essential medications and lacking in many of the essential ones. The problems is what are the essential medications…. the seasons change and so does the need for certain medications….

I spent one whole day…. doing an inventory of the medications we had. Another whole day…. reviewing the little information I could find on how much we are using of each medications such as quinine, cough syrup, cannula, syringes and the various antibiotics. I headed for Masaka to buy some of our needs instead of traveling many tiring hours to Kampala. I had heard the buying in Kampala is crazy and strange and exhausting with a great possibility of significant losses before leaving the parking lot…..

So, with a significant amount of money in hand…. I headed out for a pharmacy in Masaka…. I calculated the amount of each medication as the sells person gave me the amount….. I would have loved to know the cost before hand but that is just not possible….. Having spend all the money I was given I did not buy all my needs. I thought for sure I was going to come out with money in my pocket. It seems to me that medications in Uganda are as expensive as in Canada. But the patients can not afford to pay the prices never mind the dispensing fees. The price of one tablet of quinine is .56 cents…. not a lot of money to many of us…. but the treatment for malaria is two tablets two times a day for three days…. so 12 tablets or $6.72 Most of our patients cannot afford even the $2.00 to come to the clinic…. the $2.00 includes the consultation, the lab work, any treatments and all necessary medications. No one has been turned away…

But here I am trying to buy the most medications to treat all these patients for the least amount of money. I prayed and checked my list over and over again…. and finally paid the bill and left with 8 boxes of medications and other medical supplies. I has just finished packing the van and leaving when I got a call from Kibaale letting me know that they were out of a certain medication. Yes, it was on my list. It was not in my boxes…. and I did not have any more money.

I headed back to ask for more money to go back to the pharmacy and buy more medications….. later that afternoon I was back in the pharmacy ordering more medications which were just as expensive as the ones I bought in the morning…… and as I was heading out….. I got another call from Kibaale asking me to buy another medication.

I headed back to ask for more money to go back to the pharmacy and buy more medications…. but this time…. the medication was not on my list and was specific needed for one of our workers…

I am exhausted from just trying to buy the right amount of the right medications at the right price for the right reason…. to help keep the community, staff and students of Kibaale healthy….

It is too late now….. the boxes are packed and I am heading home to Kibaale tomorrow morning….. I am looking forward to getting back to what I know ….. which is not how to figure how to buy medications for a clinic.

I am excited to go home and look down into the peaceful trees of the area and not try to deal with the craziness of Masaka.

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