Friday, July 15, 2011

On the Outskirts of Town

The first part of this week was pretty slow. I spent most my time typing up reports for Dr. Musaazi summing up my thoughts on the work I've done with Nicholas. Things picked up yesterday when Nicholas and I headed out to a site about 30 minutes outside the city. A Ugandan woman had bought two incinerators as a business venture, and she receives payment by the kilogram for disposing of medical waste. The incinerators both run Monday and Friday for 6 hours. With a consumption of 10 kg/hr each, the site disposes of about 240 kg per week. The going rate for medical waste disposal is between 2k and 3k Ugandan shillings, so we're talking about around $240 each week. Not bad for a fledgling business. The purpose of our visit was to present the incinerators to a representative of the Regional Drug Administration, so the site could gain approval for burning drugs that had expired or been thrown out because of quality. The woman was hoping to expand her business and buy a few more incinerators if she got approval. We basically just explained how the incinerators work, and I talked about the emissions. I think the meeting went well as far as I could tell. The guy from the RDA really didn't know what we were talking about. It seemed to be more of a formality. Nicholas and I talked about how frustrating it is to have to get approval from all these organizations when they are so ignorant. They don't even know what their standards are half the time. They know nothing about how the equipment functions (or should function) and pay more attention to how fancy the site looks. We had a laugh together when Nicholas pointed at the RDA official's brand new Toyota 4x4 that had a big USAID sticker. Nicholas wanted to make sure I knew that my taxes were providing this guy with a nice new ride.
Next we went to a site in Ntenjeru, a village about 30km outside of Kampala. This one of the several sites of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project that is researching the effects of circumcision on HIV/AIDS prevention. The site had just bought and incinerator on PEPFAR funds (with my tax Nicholas again said), and we were there for another installation and training session. It went a lot more quickly than the one in Kabale, and we had less of a crowd. I didn't make it back home to Makindye until 10:30 or so. It was a long day but really productive. Today I'm back in the office typing more reports. Michael and I are hoping to see the HP premier tonight. Good times.

- Stokes

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