Interns with Child and Family Health International (CFHI) in Uganda will complete rotations in a variety of non-profit care facilities throughout Kabale (Uganda) and the surrounding area. Please note that rotations are not clinical in nature. In Uganda, over 80% of the population lives in rural settings. The intern will join healthcare initiatives implementing education, counseling, and clinical care alongside community healthcare workers, volunteers and others mobilizing for improved health and livelihoods in the countryside of southwestern Uganda. Participants will learn about health issues facing this region through workshops, visits with local NGOs and social entrepreneurs, and participation in education and outreach efforts via two structured five week programs.
These two community-based programs in Uganda will address interactions between poverty, ill health, lack of education, and the need for empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa. Additional opportunities in public health outreach and education campaigns available. This is a chance to increase your global health experience and visit a wonderful country.
Founded in 1992 by Dr. Evaleen Jones, Child Family Health International offers educational and community health programs at 20+ sites in 6 countries. To date, their programs have 7000+ alumni from 35 countries. Many participants in the programs are medical students who spend 4 weeks on rotations. The joint program with IE3 allows for 10 weeks of rotations for pre-med, pre-nursing, and public health students.
This particular program focuses on Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Maternal/Child Health. Uganda is known as the bread basket of Eastern Africa, with the majority of the country covered with fertile soils belonging to small peasant farmers that comprise of 80% of the population. There’s no shortage of food in Uganda, yet the majority of its poorest households are reported to be “food insecure,” with poor health and disease exacerbated by malnutrition. Pregnant and lactating women, people living with HIV, elders, and school children, particularly from rural villages, struggle to eat enough food, and enough variety of foods to fulfill daily nutrient levels – leaving a large majority of the population at risk.
Uganda also has the 20th highest maternal mortality rate and the 15th highest infant mortality rate in the world according to the World Health Organization. The majority of people live on less than $2 per day. It’s estimated that only 30% of women give birth in settings with a trained health professional. Given high incidences of malnutrition, anemia, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, many pregnant women are at risk of complicated births that lead to illness or death. Children under five are also at risk of contracting preventable diseases and suffering from acute malnutrition.
Learn more about CFHI’s work at http://www.cfhi.org/web/index.php/
CFHI is a global health ethics leader; as such their programs uphold strict standards and comply with all local laws which may prevent foreigners from directly providing healthcare services. The experience may be predominantly observational.
Become a part of the community in Kabale, a town located in southwestern Uganda, and learn about their ground-breaking integrated approach to addressing and improving maternal and child health. Due to insufficient government infrastructure and funding, nonprofit organizations have taken the lead in providing access to healthcare services, especially in remote regions.
The first 5 weeks of the program will focus on Maternal/Child Health and HIV/AIDS. Rotate through the main general clinic, as well as the newly built Maternal and Child Hospital where you will take part in rounds with physicians, nurses, medical officers, lab and ultrasound technicians. At the HIV/AIDS clinic, sit in on counseling sessions, assist health workers with testing and learn how to reduce rates of mother to child transmission. Conduct outreach in a rural village and explore how nutrition and HIV are closely linked. Other opportunities include rotating at a nutrition center that treats and prevents maternal and child malnutrition, visiting traditional birth attendants and healers, and joining a local radio program that provides public health education to the community.
Become a part of the community in Kabale and learn about their ground-breaking integrated approach to addressing “The Bread Basket Paradox” and improving food security and nutrition. Assist a local nonprofit organization, KIHEFO, in their efforts to treat and prevent maternal and child malnutrition through education and counseling. Visit local primary and secondary schools and participate in Nutrition Education Outreach using participatory drama and theater. Learn about Sustainable Agriculture and Permaculture with KIHEFO and local social enterprise, Omusiri (‘Garden’ in the local language of Rukiga). Participate in workshops with village community groups and explore methods of growing a diversity of foods closer to people’s homes.
In addition meet with trainers at a Rabbit Breeding & Training Centre, and learn how rabbit rearing is an effective way to improve protein and B12 intake and generate household income. Travel to rural villages throughout Kabale District and meet with local people who organize themselves into ngozi village groups. Through a microcredit program supported by KIHEFO, groups gain access to seeds, farming tools and agricultural training. Witness the positive impact of these programs on individuals’ economic situations and maternal and child health in their communities.
NOTE: Rotation availability depends on local conditions. All rotations are subject to change depending on local availability and general national holidays. Local coordinators will try and make alternate arrangements if a particular activity or facility is not available during the program month.
CFHI programs are not episodic volunteer experiences, and are not designed to provide service to those who would otherwise not have healthcare. The learning objectives for interns with CFHI are:
Watch the following video to learn more about CFHI Uganda Medical Director, Dr. Geoffry Anguyo and the KIHEFO clinic where CFHI interns work.
* Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage
The CFHI Host Site Fees Includes:
Room and board for 10 weeks.
Interns stay in a shared apartment, located in the same complex with the CFHI Kabale Medical Director and his family. Apartments comfortably house four people per apartment and two people per bedroom. Apartments include a living room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Beds, bedding, mosquito nets, and bathing towels are provided. Accommodation also includes 2 meals a day and filtered/bottled drinking water. Apartments are located in a safe neighborhood in Kabale, and have 24-hour security.
Read about conducting community health surveys in rural Uganda: It Takes a Village by Jenna Schuder
“My experience in Uganda was easily the best experience of my life. Professionally, I was able to work with people from a different culture and background, expanding my experience and ability to communicate. Cross-culturally, I learned how to live and adjust to new people, new environments, new lifestyles, and also learned how to successfully live (and thrive) in a community that is not my own. Personally, I met some of the best friends I could ask for. I was challenged in patience, communication, and the ability to think outside of the box. I think that professional, cross-culture, and personal experiences are all interrelated for me because the community I was working with was also the community I was living with and spending time with outside of work. I think that everyone has different experiences abroad, but I also think that the experience is what you make of it. I was able to challenge myself and reflect through my internship which made it so much better.”
On the experience of being a “minority” abroad:
“My biggest advice would be to be present and take it in. Notice how it feels to be the object of bias or different treatment and see how it changes your perspective on biases that you may have in your home country. I think it becomes a lot easier to be empathetic to others situations when you have experienced what it feels like.”
-Hunter, Oregon State University
“ After 17 years, the KIHEFO staff have developed unique programs that effectively addresses issues of disease, poverty, and ignorance in their community. Now, KIEHFO has 5 clinics in Kabale-town, which focus on HIV, general health, dental health, nutrition rehabilitation, and maternal health, and a rabbit breeding program and center. It also holds at least 7 outreaches each month in rural communities depending on how much funding they receive. These outreaches, which can be anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours travel outside of Kabale-town, aim to bring medical services and health education to people who otherwise would never receive medical attention or education…
When I think back to when I was preparing to come to Uganda, I had no idea how rich and rewarding this experience would be. I cherish the time I have spent in Kabale and the dear friends and memories I have made. I appreciate the KIHEFO staff for welcoming me so warmly and for making me a part of the KIHEFO family. After three months we are all brothers and sisters. I value the work that KIHEFO is doing in their community and have been inspired and humbled daily by the love everyone has shown me, each other, and their community. KIHEFO is an incredibly impactful organization that seeks to continue to grow. I am inspired to spread the word about KIHEFO back home and work to support them by encouraging other students to participate in this program, and any other way I can think of. These three months have been more that I could have ever hoped for. I have made life-long friends (both Ugandan, American and Canadian) and feel assured that I want to dedicate my life to being in service to others who are less fortunate for me. I am proud of the professional and personal growth that I have seen within myself. I leave KIHEFO and Kabale feeling humbled, grateful, rewarded, and loved. Every challenge, every moment of homesickness, every miscommunication, and every time I felt out of my element has been worth it. I will miss Kabale-town and KIHEFO greatly, but leave knowing that I will be back someday.”
-Megan, Portland State University
“Overall, I learned so much on this internship. It helped me realize what my true calling is, and also made me realize how much harder I would need to work in order to get there. I now know that honestly anything is possible, all you have to do is just take the first steps. I know that if I want to create my own NGO, all I have to do is just do it. There’s the motivation and there is the need, so why not take the leap? I now know that I want to go to medical school and get a dual degree (MD-MPh), and I want to become a General Practitioner if I want to make the largest impact on the most amount of people. I know that I want to live in a developing country and begin a grassroots organization that has a very broad definition of public health, all following the KIHEFO model. I’ve learned that I can do all this, because I’ve tested myself in the field and even as a 20yr old, I made connections and have networked to create a family in Uganda. I know that I will come back to Uganda, and find ways to help KIHEFO flourish.”
-Camryn, University of Oregon
“Here in Kabale I am primarily shadowing physicians, medical students, nurses, and midwives that work for KIHEFO. I have been extremely impressed by the ability of this organization to address the health needs and deficits of the community through the use of research and cultural understanding. The physicians and other health workers employed by KIHEFO take into account that there is more at work when it comes to someone’s health than simply biological factors. This integrated healthcare approach is something that I respect and am really excited to be a part of and learn from.
The work that I have done so far has surpassed my expectations. I have been able to observe such a wide range of positions a person can hold in the healthcare profession…
I have loved visiting the village communities around Kabale, as well as larger community events such as a presentation on birth control and a workshop on nutrition. Being immersed in community events allows us to learn how people spend their time and where they learn about the healthcare deficits affecting their community this has been and continues to be a really important part of my experience here…
The most important thing I have learned about myself is the fact that I can do something like this experience. I am able to travel on my own to a different continent. I am able to immerse myself in another culture full of people I have never met before and absolutely fall in love with it. Honestly the biggest personal challenge for me was saying goodbye to Kabale and the people in it. I have never loved another place as much as I love home and I undoubtedly love Kabale as much as I love Portland or Eugene. I could imagine myself living in Kabale for years, I had made a family there, met very best friends that I believe I will stay in contact with for a long time. Saying goodbye to this home and this family that I have made was personal challenges unlike anything I have ever had do before…
In working with KIHEFO I had the opportunity to observe what it would be like to work as a physician, nurse and/or midwife on a daily basis. I loved receiving this variety in the career paths I was able to explore while in Uganda. More specifically than that, I found example after example of ways I could come back and work for/with an international foundation such as KIHEFO. Before this internship I had not been exposed to many opportunities for working abroad and working with KIHEFO definitely made that career path seem feasible. A second professional path/experience that seems more realistic now that I have been to Uganda is applying for the Peace Corps. The peace core is something I have always considered but there was always the hesitation that two years would be too long to be without my family, my friends and my home. What I learned in Uganda was that I was truly able to find a family and a home in Kabale. I am no longer as intimidated by the length of time that the peace core commitment is, instead I think that it would be incredible to have a length of stay long enough to enjoy the place even more…
The most rewarding aspect by far was the ability of the Ugandans I met to make very genuine friendships. I experienced this on my own during the couple of months I was living in Kabale and my family and I experienced it together as we traveled in Ugandan for a couple of weeks. I have never experienced a culture that is so welcoming and relatable to such new and different people. My family and I were all able to make bonds with so many people that none of us will ever forget…”
-Natalie, University of Oregon
“Being here I felt pushed to boundaries that I didn’t know I had. I was able to step up to the plate and perform for both my organization and myself. After being there for 9 weeks, I felt confident enough about my understanding of KIHEFO to help with new intern orientation. I brought the new interns to the clinics, even helped find families in the village that we had been working with to try and give these interns the same experience I had when coming to Uganda. I was able to step into a leadership role that I never thought I would have the confidence to jump into…
I enjoyed being with children the most. I found ways to find children. Whether working in the malnutrition clinic or going out to the field, I found opportunities to be with kids almost every day. I was very lucky to be able to teach some kids and parents about nutrition and I was happiest when I was with families. I believe in a lot of medicine we treat disease not people. By being able to focus on the kids around me, I was able to refocus my observed treatment back onto people…
I think my greatest reward was building faith and trust of one of my patients. I was able to build a relationship with them and their loved ones that I never thought possible when they first came to KIHEFO. I watched that child go from crying every time they saw me, to hearing at the next checkup that they told their family, “I can’t wait to see the Mzungu in Kabale.” Knowing that I was able to build trust and rapport even with the cultural differences and language barrier was hands down my biggest reward.”
-Marjorie, Oregon State University
“I feel as though I grew exponentially during my internship. I gained incredible cultural competence while living in Kabale, Uganda. I gained insight into the many determinants of health that impact people in a developing country. I saw the range of health care standards and gained first-hand experience in conducting an evaluation on a significant public health initiative. Creating data collection tools and then using those tools to collect actual data was great practice for me. Additionally, analyzing the data I sought and using it to produce a relevant evaluation for an organization I believe in boosted my confidence in applying the practical skills I learned in the classroom.”
-Jenna, Oregon State University
"In epidemiology, we talk about sick people in terms of populations and numbers. For the first time, I was putting a face and name to those numbers. It had a profound effect on me, and I was really able to see what impact preventative measures have on actual human beings."
- Mia, Portland State University,
Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15
- Prior experience in health care settings preferred