By Thalia Reitsema (2015)

Country Origin: The Netherlands

Age Group: 25 - 27

Reason for going abroad: Internship (St. Francis Hospital)

Travel Destination: Mutolere, Uganda

Hi everybody,

I am Thalia from The Netherlands and recipient of the 2015 KILROY Foundation Grant. Together with two other medical students from the University of Groningen, we traveled to St. Francis Hospital Mutolere, Kisoro in Uganda for an 8-week internship at the hospital.

Our main project is to experience and contribute to the Public Health in the country. In the short time we have been in Uganda, I feel as though I have learned so much, including having met and seen so many incredible people and places.

The hospital counts 220 beds on a beautiful compound near volcano’s (where Gorillas live!) and where all the staff live together. They work really hard here and make for long days for little money. The hospital and staff don't have the right equipment for a lot of diseases they encounter in patients. We see such a contrast with health centers in the Netherlands, however the local hospital staff make the best of what they have to help their patients :) 

My colleagues and I decided to focus especially on local tonsillar mutilation, which is a big problem in public health in Uganda. Local traditional healers mutilate tonsils without sterility and knowledge, which may cause dangerous sepsis and even death in patients in some cases. We will (try to) write a case report about this phenomenon and try to make people aware of the dangers of this ‘treatment’.


HIV is also still a big problem here. About 10-13 % of people are infected with this virus and there is still a taboo on this disease. At the St. Francis Hospital they have a special program, which is for free, for infected patients of HIV. Not only for treatment but also prevention and family planning.

During the weekends my fellow students and I try to see as much as we can of the beautiful country. One particular weekend we traveled to Lake Mutanda, to accommodations is owned by Dutchies : - )  We enjoyed the beautiful sunset together also with some of the local community. We even had a chance to experience a rare opportunity to hike a volcano/mount Ghahinga, which was pretty tough, but SO worth it! 


I look forward to share with you more of my experiences of this beautiful country and its wonderful and kind people. 

Thalia (Hester and Loes)


We look forward to hear more from Thalia as she settles into her internship role at the St. Francis Hospital, and to share more pictures and stories of her journey around Uganda!