Stuck in between and loving it!

As a communications specialist (apparently) on my Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) assignment I was not exactly sure what I was meant to be doing in the field. The majority of STOP members spend most of their time in the field visiting health clinics and communities to see if their surveillance for polio, measles and other diseases are up to a decent standard and that routine immunisation coverage is high.

100_0212aBut as a communications person what will I be checking and what will knowing about communications help in making sure a community is immunised and safe from preventable communicable diseases???

Like most things we learn the most once we are actually doing the hands-on practical work and in any new job, initially we never really know what we are doing. However in my first visit to my first under-served community there was no hiding or not knowing what to do.


This is the Karamoja peoples camp in Kampala…

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In this type of situation I quickly learnt that my role was to see if the community first understood the role of immunisation and if they then accessed the service of immunisation or why/how they didn’t understand the role of immunisation.

In the three weeks since my arrival I have now seen my role expand to look at how best to let communities know about immunisation, it’s importance and the benefits to – them, their community and the entire country. I also feel one of my greatest roles is to be the messenger between the Minister of the Ministry of Health and the individual mothers on the ground such as the ones in my first meeting with the community in Makindye Division.

I love the fact one day I can been meeting with the most under-served (or completely forgotten) communities living in extreme poverty – listening and learning from them and then the next day meeting with the Minister of Health of the entire country and again listening and learning from what he is trying to accomplish. It’s a very nice in between-all position strengthening top to bottom and bottom to top. I am in the lucky position of knowing the wishes and actions of the Ministry and the practical realities on the ground at the grassroots. It is a position of privilege to play and learn in both of these realms but that is one of the beauties of the STOP program.100_0220

In the coming 5 months I know my role will morph and evolve a lot from my first three weeks but now that I kind of feel like I know what I am doing and slotting into a few significant and enriching roles I couldn’t be in a better place for the rest of the year…

The most powerful and significant experiences and learnings from my assignment are sure to be at the grassroots seeing how humanity can get on with life with absolutely nothing but continuing to face each day as it comes. It the case of the Karamoja Camp is nice to know that they will receive an outreach immunisation program after putting the government in touch with the community leaders and servicing at least their immunisation needs for now…100_0212a

About Living Geo d'Arcy

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
This entry was posted in 2013 Life, The End of Polio, Uganda and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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