In February 2020, Dr. Ted Hausler, the Chief of Medicine at Taasa, returned to the clinic in rural Uganda. The ultimate goal was to organize with our clinicians and improve the clinic’s performance. Additionally, his team worked closely to identify any critical needs to be met in the future. Dr. Ted, who works in Family Medicine in Upstate NY, first met the founder of the Taasa clinic, Henry, while on a medical trip to Uganda. Through his experience with Henry, Dr. Ted learned of the critical medical needs of rural Ugandans that were not being met. He has maintained close contact and developed a partnership with Henry, and since then they founded Taasa together to help meet the medical needs of local Ugandans.
Upon arrival, Dr. Ted was quick to identify the transformative power that a fresh coat of paint could have on the clinic. Within the first few days the inside of the clinic was freshly painted and beautiful artwork was hung in effort to create a warm and welcoming environment. While making physical improvements, it was clear that the clinic could also benefit from a better organization. Certain organizational improvements would allow the precious donated items to be located easily and medications to be stored safely. With this in mind, Dr. Ted and Henry installed shelving in each room and designated one room as “The Pharmacy”. In addition, Dr. Ted was able to educate the clinicians the applications of each of the donated medications so that they had a better idea of how they were used to treat various medical conditions.
Recognizing the importance of continued medical education for health workers, Dr. Ted sought to provide educational materials and medical guidance for Taasa’s healthcare team. With medical reference books in tow, Dr. Ted worked alongside our clinicians to teach better techniques for medical diagnoses and treatments. He guided them through a variety of procedures, including circumcisions, machete wound care, and fistula repair. The introduction of new surgical procedures, which expand our clinician’s capabilities, has been transformative for healthcare in this rural community. Medical protocols and procedures were developed and established to ensure a uniform standard of quality care. Having this level of medical care available in such a rural area saved Ugandans precious hours of arduous travel when they are in the most need.
During his visit, Dr. Ted shadowed clinicians to observe the quality of care that is provided. He worked with them to identify areas for improvement and worked with the team to resolve any deficits. Dr. Ted was present to answer questions, assist in teachable moments, and provide constructive feedback for each clinician.
Dr. Ted taught the team how to mitigate the risk of infection for patients. Through the development and implementation of important new sanitation policies and measures, patients are able to seek medical care in a facility that prioritizes cleanliness. Another proud accomplishment is that our practitioners are now enforcing a new policy, which prohibits garbage on the clinic’s grounds in order to maintain a sterile environment. Through community engagement with young children and families, Dr. Ted shared Taasa’s goal to instill the importance of cleanliness in homes and in shared community spaces. He was able to show the community the critical connection between improvements in sanitation and the overall health of the people.
The trip was only two weeks long but was a great success and abundant progress was achieved. Dr. Ted is looking forward to more trips to Uganda in the future.
The Taasa Clinic remains operational during COVID-19. Follow us on Instagram @TaasaHealth to learn more about what our response has entailed.