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The UW-Madison Health and Disease in Uganda Field Experience is an intensive program that provides students in health-related disciplines the opportunity to learn about important health issues, including nutrition, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases. Throughout the program, you will also be introduced to the life, language and culture of Uganda.
During the program, you will spend time in community-based health care centers and will visit hospitals, nutritional units, and schools. In addition, you will interact with faculty, staff, and students from Makerere University, Mulago Hospital, and other institutions and non-governmental organizations.
The program begins in Kampala, where you are introduced to the health issues of Uganda and some of the ways that people and institutions are striving to improve health conditions. You then spend time in small groups in a rural areas, partnering with Makerere students through the Community Based Education and Services (COBES) program. Here you will learn the health challenges of rural areas and see how public health principles are employed in addressing those challenges.
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa with a population of 34 million people. The program will be based at Makerere University in Kampala, the bustling capital city of Uganda, with a population of 1.2 million.
The main campus of Makerere University, one of East and Central Africa's premier institutes of higher learning, can be found in the Makerere Hill area of the City. Makerere University is Uganda's largest university. It was first established as a technical school in 1922, and in 1963 it became the University of East Africa. Today, Makerere University has twenty-two faculties, institutes and schools offering programs for more than 30,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates.
English is the official and most widely spoken language in Uganda. However, there are twenty tribes whose members speak more than sixty dialects. Luganda is the major language in the Kampala district and the most widely used after English. Luganda is frequently spoken at Mulago Hospital. Other major languages are Swahili and Runyakitara from western Uganda.
Other features of the city include the Ssezibwa Falls, Ugandan National Theatre, St. Balikuddembe Market (formerly Owino Market) and Nakasero Market. Entebbe International Airport is located at Entebbe, twenty-two miles away, while Port Bell on the shore of Lake Victoria is seven miles away. Kampala hosts one of only seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in the world. It is known as the Mother Temple of Africa and is situated on Kikaya Hill on the outskirts of the city.
The hallmark of the field course in Uganda is an immersion in a COBES site. The Makerere University College of Health Sciences’ Community Based Education and Services (COBES) is an initiative where Makerere University health students are placed to work in rural communities for a period of time. For a one-week period, UW students will learn about health-seeking behaviors, the social and economic context of rural life, as well as the value of strategic partnerships and community participation.
Getting to Your Program
You make your own travel arrangements but are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
U.S. citizens must have a US passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. A student visa is required. IAP will provide program participants with visa information upon acceptance to the program.
OrientationStudents attend orientation in Madison during the spring semester. There will also be an orientation session in Uganda upon arrival. Participants are also required to take PHS 640: Foundations in Global Health Practice (one credit) as a pre-requisite during the prior Spring semester.
HousingHousing is included for the duration of the program. For the majority of the program, you will stay in Kampala. While in Kampala, you stay at a guesthouse, located on Makerere University's campus. Facilities at the guesthouse include double rooms with shared bathrooms; furnishings are minimal. Breakfast is provided. You will spend one week living, learning and working with Makerere University health professional students and faculty in community health sites in Uganda with very basic facilities. Flexibility is required to thrive in this program!
Excursions and Activities
You will visit hospitals, community health centers, nutritional units and schools, and will participate in home visits. The program will include cultural events. Past site visits have included: children orphanages, the Ministry of Health's Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Labs, the US Embassy, the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community clinic and school, the Infectious Disease Institute, a wildlife education center, and various hospital and clinics.
You may choose to stay in Uganda for additional educational or tourism-related activities, to be arranged independent of the field course. IAP and course faculty may be able to offer guidance on arranging such activities.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
A faculty member from UW-Madison will serve as Resident Director in Uganda.
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
"I wanted to become more culturally competent and I have. The week I spent in the village environment really showed me some realities of Africa. I feel like I am a better person."
"I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the different health delivery systems within Uganda, and to work alongside the community health workers in the region."
"I thought that getting immersed into the communities was such a great experience. Even though our conditions were not the best, being able to experience life the way the community did was an experience of a lifetime. Being paired with the Ugandan med students was also really great because it gave us a peer view into what their lives were like. I also really liked the instructors!! They were so much fun!"
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. The following supplemental application materials will become available to you through the application portal:
Summer Program Forms
Global Health Study Abroad Essay
Unofficial Transcript (Student Record)
Unofficial Undergrad Transcript (Student Record)
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make the final admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email.
|Summer - 2013-2014
During the prior Spring semester you are required to take PHS 640: Foundations in Global Health Practice (one credit) as a pre-requisite. You will earn an additional two credits (PHS 645) after successful completion of the summer field program.
The course provides interdisciplinary perspectives on health, disease, and public health. You will explore topics such as: major infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, maternal health services, malnutrition in children, nursing, and traditional healing in Uganda.
UW-Madison faculty will serve as Resident Directors in Uganda. You will also hear lectures from other UW-Madison faculty and from Professors at Makerere University.
Scott Mead, MD is a UW Clincial Associate Professor. Dr. Mead serves as UWHC medical director and liaison to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. He is actively involved in teaching graduate health professional students about global health and regularly mentors medical students and residents in global health electives. His interests are in medical ethics, student education and global health.
Ajay Sethi, PhD, MHS, is Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at UW and an infectious disease epidemiologist. He has worked in Uganda for 10 years, mostly in the area of strategies to deliver HIV treatment and care in rural settings. More recently, he and his colleagues at the Global Health Institute began a study to understand how mobile devices such as cell phones can be used to capture and disseminate health information.
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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