Nursing Professor Jennifer Gray knows the challenges nurses face in Uganda. They often make nightly rounds by flashlight due to electrical outages. Basic items such as plastic gloves are a precious commodity.
“The nurses, particularly in rural areas, receive supplies quarterly so they may run out before they get the next shipment,” says the College of Nursing and Health Innovation associate dean. “There may be one nurse for 30 to 40 patients. It’s a different world when you think about health care.”
Dr. Gray made her eighth trip to Uganda last year, working with the Nurses and Midwives Union. While the nation is across the continent from the West African region battling the Ebola virus, Uganda encountered the disease years before.
The current outbreak once again highlighted the problems of medical workers in developing countries, where hospitals lack basic supplies, electricity can be spotty, and nurses frequently must reuse items.
But Gray says the medical professionals she works with there are dedicated to improving treatment and furthering knowledge. She organizes workshops on research methods and helps budding scholars publish research papers.
She’s looking forward to returning this summer.
“There’s such a strong desire to learn and an eagerness to get more information. The nursing faculty’s commitment to their patients and their students is really inspiring.”