Quotes by Dr. Anthony Batte, Dr. Clement Okello and Dr. Peace Bagasha, from Uganda
“The IOP is one of the key groups, along with McMaster, that has done a lot of work in training sub-specialists in the different fields of medicine,” said Batte. “Especially in the department of internal medicine, the sub-specialists that we have [in Uganda] are trained by McMaster. Right now I’m being trained to be a pediatric nephrologist and it’s a big achievement that the IOP has given us, for the university and the country.”
Batte is grateful for what the IOP is helping him to accomplish in obtaining his sub-specialty, but also for it helping grow the Ugandan medical system.
“I think we as a country, as Uganda, we need to acknowledge what the IOP has done,” said Batte. “The training that we get is key to the health system and to the government because they could not afford to do what the IOP does. The IOP takes on big ventures and it’s very important and it’s helping our health system.”
The Ugandan doctors who come to Canada train to become sub-specialists, a level of training they cannot obtain back home. Although they are studying and practicing in different fields of medicine, they all arrive in Canada with the goal of making their country’s medical system better when they return home.
“There is a big gap in the field of hematology (compared to Canada) at the Uganda Cancer Institute,” said Okello. “Because of my interest in this discipline I was identified and came to McMaster University to take a course unit on internal medicine. Here I can super-specialize in hematology. They don’t offer this training in Uganda.”
Okello is working hard at his studies, but when he returns home his workload will increase drastically.
“Uganda is a small country with a population of 36-million people,” said Okello. “There is only one cancer institute so once I get home I’ll be teaching students as well as treating people. We get so many people coming to the institute. Our patients back in Uganda are so ill.”
“Kidney diseases are a huge, huge problem in Uganda,” said Bagasha. “In Uganda we not only have diabetes and hypertension, those are [just the] lifestyle illnesses. We have those but we also have a lot of infections like HIV. It’s pandemic in Uganda. The numbers are overwhelming for doctors looking after the kidneys. Kidney disease is like a death sentence for us.”