How did you learn about REMI East Africa?
I was blessed to learn about REMI East Africa through the founder herself.-Rose Nakame
whom I met in Madison, Wisconsin when she was completing her Mandela Washington fellowship. She immediately intrigued me, and I was drawn in by her commitment to the poorest communities and expertise in the field of public health; working towards health equity. As an MPH student, I was required to complete a capstone project of my interests to attain a Global Health Certificate. And, this meeting availed me the chance to undertake the monitoring and evaluation of REMI East Africa’s multi-award winning “The Health Equity Voice” Project.
What parts of REMI East Africa’s work excited/motivated you to work with them?
Having a passion for global health, I have always sought opportunities to gain international experience. The opportunity to work with REMI East Africa excited me most because it was founded through a commitment and drive to help people. The organization’s mission was felt every time I talked to Rose and read stories on their website. I knew I was doing good work and my small contribution can help, despite never having set foot in Uganda thus working remotely. Knowing that motivated me. I felt a connection and an obligation to do my part for REMI East Africa because people’s lives are impacted.
How was the working online/collaboration feel and go?
It was interesting to work remotely. With REMI East Africa based in Uganda and I being in the United States, there was some getting used to the time difference. Rose and I kept communication via phone, email, or WhatsApp. She was always responsive to any questions I had, which I am very thankful for and eased my evaluation of “The Health Equity Voice” Project. I remain hopeful that one day, I will visit Uganda and get involved in the day-to-day work of REMI East Africa staff and feel the culture of the country.
What insights or learnings did you find out about REMI East Africa’s work with the poorest and Health Equity in general?
REMI East Africa’s work, especially with The Health Equity Voice, provided me insight into Uganda’s healthcare system. Like many healthcare systems around the world, including the United States, there is a shortage of healthcare workers, especially in primary care. Because of this, communities are feeling the impact and are unable to live the healthiest of lives. I learned that rural healthcare workers in Uganda are working with limited resources, sometimes not paid, are working under poor conditions, and are viewed by the government and people as corrupt. Despite all this, healthcare providers are often determined to provide the best care they can to their communities with the resources they do have. Reading the stories of rural healthcare workers collected by REMI East Africa illustrated to me the good the providers are doing. Yes, the stories all advocated for change, highlighted the downfalls of the healthcare system, and detailed stories of struggle, but the larger message was a plea to improve the country’s healthcare system so that individuals and their families and communities can thrive and live their healthiest.
Any last thoughts?
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with REMI East Africa. I hope to see REMI East Africa flourish and continue the amazing work they do. There is no doubt the staff are doing incredible work and are changing lives and are on the course to improving the country’s healthcare system.
I hope my time with REMI East Africa doesn’t end and that additional collaborations can be continued.
By Ryan A Rhode,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA