Written by Christina Kinnevey, MD, Fellow at Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Community Medicine & Global Health Fellowship Program while on Global Health rotation with Rad Impact in partnership with ECUREI in Kampala, Uganda in June 2018
“A Lesson in Flexibility”
If there is one thing I learned in leading this trip to Uganda for the past two years, it that no matter how much we plan ahead, we still need to plan for plans to change. Last year, two of us on the team arrived at the airport on the morning of our travels to discover the tickets to Uganda we had purchased had not actually gone through and been ticketed and we did not have a seat on the plane. This year, while our journey started out smoother, during our route to…
Uganda, one of the team members discovered his father was hospitalized and in the intensive care unit. He of course immediately directed his course back to the States. Unfortunately, half our course supplies were in his checked luggage and could not be transferred to another team member’s name. The remaining members of the team arrived safely and we set to work figuring out how to improvise with the remaining supplies. Rather than divide the group of student into pairs as initially planned, we divided the group into groups of threes for the practice sessions due to limited supply of baby mannequins. By good grace we were able to find a supply of prior edition course manuals to use and we updated the students on the changes throughout the week. I was able to go to the hospital and re-print our pre-course surveys that we needed for data analysis on the teaching effectiveness.
Thankfully, I was part of a flexible, cohesive team that had no difficulty in improvisation. We just made it work and the course was actually quite successful. Fortunately, Dave’s father’s condition stabilized and he was discharged home after a 4-day admission. Dave was then able to travel to Uganda and bring the bags prior to the course ending, allowing us to give each of the midwives we were training their made for a more stressful trip, in the end, it taught me valuable lessons as a leader in flexibility and problem solving. I will continue to use these skills as I lead future global health trips and in other leadership positions.