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Gloria’s story

I’m a medical doctor from Uganda. I started my career about five years ago in Uganda. My first job was as an intern at a major hospital in Kampala.
I’m here in Australia to gain knowledge in health service management. While I was in Uganda, I was a clinical administrator at a postnatal clinic. And I felt the need to learn more about leadership in health care because as a young doctor I experienced lots of challenges working as an administrator manager in the health care system.
The clinical system in Uganda in terms of health care delivery is divided into health centre one, two, three, four. Then we have tertiary hospitals, referral hospitals. And so accordingly, our staff are deployed according to the need at the different levels. So the unique thing I find about Uganda is that we have had to have innovations in our workforce in health care because of the higher ratio– we have about one doctor to 24,000 people in Uganda, one nurse to 11,000 people. So the government came up with innovations, like one of them is a speciality or a discipline called clinical medicine, or, sorry, a clinic office. So this individual is trained in medicine for three years.
They have a certain amount of knowledge that they’re trained in. So they’re trained not as comprehensively as a doctor. They are not able to perform any operations or anything like that. But they’re able to deliver the primary care and take care of the commonly occurring conditions in the community. So that’s one major innovation. And the other is what we call a comprehensive nurse. So this nurse is trained in primary care, psychiatry, and as well as midwifery.
In my country, one of the challenges, some of the challenges include the huge workload. If you think about it, one doctor to 24,000 people, that’s so many people who need see a doctor. So on average, one doctor in a hospital will be on his toes. He’s on his toes from morning till evening. Then there’s lack of necessary equipment. You may need to have an MRI or a scan urgently for a patient and you’re not able to do so.
We all need to be abreast with the ups– with the right medication or the most recent medication to give, or the right course of management for various disease conditions. So that’s just, that applies across the board, whether in Africa or Australia. But the other thing this ongoing development does for health practitioners from emerging economies is that it gives you some sort of motivation. It also provides an opportunity for career advancement in case that’s what the individual wants to do.
The challenge of working in a rural area for a new graduate, just imagine you have spent five years, five to six years training and you are just deployed to somewhere so remote. You don’t know anyone. There’s no water probably, no running water, and electricity goes on and off. And you are essentially alone in a new place. You are charged with lots of responsibilities, like you know, leading a team of workers who are not very motivated. You have to be accepted by the community, you know. That’s also another challenge. You don’t just walk in and practise medicine. You have to gain the acceptance of the community, gain their confidence.
You may find that the nurse– the community members have more confidence in the nurse because she’s probably part of the community, or the lab technician, or various other health workers. You cannot work independently in the community. It’s always teamwork.

In this video Gloria Nambozo shares with us her personal story of her experience as a health professional and health leader in Uganda.

Gloria also talks about the challenges health workers face and some strategies they are implementing to address shortages of health workers. Gloria studied for a medical degree and practiced as a doctor and health leader in Uganda. She is currently doing her post graduate studies at Griffith University.

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