An Interview with Dr Charles K., Medical Doctor in SALEM-Uganda


The interview was conducted by project manager Mrs. Gertrud Schweizer-Ehrler who worked as a nurse in SALEM-Uganda for about ten years in the 80s/90s.

Where do you come from?

I am from Kanginima in Butebo District, about 20 km west of the SALEM-village. My father is a primary school teacher and my mother a housewife. As early as 1993, the year I was born, the SALEM-health center had a good reputation as a maternity clinic. Thus, my parents decided to go to SALEM for the birth instead of to the nearby Mbale hospital. However, since my mother went into severe labor on the way there, I was born on the way. After that my mother and I were taken to SALEM for the first medical treatment. That was my very first contact with SALEM.

Where did you go to school?

I went to primary school in my home village. I´ve always been a good pupil and an easy learner. I completed Senior Secondary School up to S4 at the boarding school in Mbale. After that I went to college in Jinja for the last two school years. 

And after that?

From 2014 to 2019 I studied medicine at the University of Gulu and graduated with a bachelor's degree. This was possible thanks to a state scholarship because of my good grades. In the 4th year of training we had to do an internship as part of our studies. For that I applied to the SALEM-health center. 

How was the time for you there?

I was very well received in SALEM. At that time the program "Voucher Plus" was running, a program financed by the American organization USAID to support pregnant women. We had a lot of patients, especially for caesarean sections. I was able to gain a lot of experience, particularly in the surgical field. After that, I was way ahead of my colleagues. 

What happened after your graduation?

I did my practical year at Mbale Hospital where I had to go through all departments, i.e. surgery, gynaecology, internal medicine and paediatrics. I was most interested in pediatrics and surgery. In 2020 I finished my studies. While waiting for my exams I volunteered at SALEM for about 2 months. After that I got a contract and I'm still working there today. 

Do you have family?

Yes, my wife Doreen and I got married in 2020. She is a pediatrician and is currently doing her Masters. We have a baby "Lillibeth", she is one year old.

 And how is work in SALEM going now?

A variety of medical services are offered in the SALEM-health center - from basic care to treatment by specialists who come on a daily basis. We see emergencies, particularly in the gynecological area, on a regular basis. But children and adults also come with a variety of illnesses and receive help.

I am also involved in the so-called "outreach program": we visit people in the surrounding villages to give vaccinations, nutritional advice, mother-child advice, etc. There is a new nutritional program supported by the German Doctors. We rise awareness about the right nutrition for children and carry out screening. But we also advise in the agricultural sector, talking about different plants and their nutrients. The SALEM-hospital has a rich history of treating the malnourished on which we can fall back. 

What are your plans for the future?

I love surgery and would like to become a specialist in it. Therefore I have already been taking part in further training in Mbale.  

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

A very big thank you to SALEM International, but also to SALEM-Uganda, for more than 40 years of service to the people in the rural region around the SALEM project. Many lives could be saved in this way and many Ugandans have been given a future. Through this support I have personally grown, both professionally and privately. During my stay here in Germany I got to know many dedicated people who make sure that the work on the projects continues which I appreciate very much.

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