Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 3 Update

We spent most of Week 3 in the field visiting potential partner sites. During the beginning of the week we went back to Buluba Hospital to observe one of their immunization days (photo above) and understand the data that they record for their patients when they come in for antenatal visits or immunizations. We also had the opportunity to visit Kairos, an organization that runs a health clinic 10km outside of Gulu (~5 hours north of Kampala). Dr. Beatrice from Kairos showed us around and gave us some context on the patients she sees through the clinic. It is clear that there is a real need for bed nets in the region, and that there is a passionate team on the ground trying to deliver better healthcare to the surrounding area. Kairos has begun collecting data including malaria and bed net information through community gatherings- a potentially useful forum for TAMTAM's partnership.
Meanwhile, meetings in Kampala continue:
  • Ministry of Health - Malaria Control Program
  • Mildmay- a UK-based NGO focused on family HIV/AIDS treatment
  • BASF/ Cooper Pharma- a commercial distributor of bed nets in Uganda
On some exciting news outside of work, team TamTam came in first place at the bi-monthly trivia night at the expat bar Bubble’s! What is the prize for winning such a tough competition? Well, on top of flaunting such an honor to the rest of the small expat community, we get to write the next quiz! The team is busy trying to come up with some tough questions. In the coming week we are looking forward to our visits to Ntenjeru and Gulu. By end of this week we will have an additional teammate- Meredith! We are looking forward to welcoming her to the team and getting her up to speed on the work that we are doing on the ground.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Week 2 Happenings

Another good week here in Uganda, this time a nice mix of field time and in-city meetings. Lekha and Sarah have survived their first week and are full-fledged TAMTAMers.

This week, we met with the following organizations in Kampala:
  • Ministry of Local Government
  • Ministry of Health
  • FXB
  • Clinton Foundation - CHAI (Country Director and Malaria Program)
  • Netmark

This week our field visits included VOLSET Foundation in Ntenjeru/Domba Island and Buluba Hospital near Musita. Next week we will return to these sights to learn more and spend dedicated time. We will also head north to Gulu to visit the organization Kairos. Busy first week for Sarah and Lekha- we wish the rest of the team were here too!

We also found ourselves a team mascot, Chris TAMTAM Tam. It's his birthday! Thanks to Chaim and Phil as well for hosting a fun time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Buluba Hospital and VOLSET Foundation

This week the TAMTAM team set out on our first two field visits in Uganda. We visited Buluba Hospital (located about 2.5 hours east of Kampala) and the Volset Foundation's Village Health Team program in Ntenjuru, north of Mukono. At both of these locations, we found passionate health workers in areas troubled by malaria and without adequate bed net availability. We are in the process of learning more about the data collection, health services, and needs of each of these places. Team TAMTAM seeks to distribute bed nets through our partners in underserved areas and with a focus on "crowding in" other health services. For example, free distribution of much-wanted bed nets could draw mothers into a health clinic to receive an immunization for her child, or partake in pre-natal services. We look forward to getting our nets out in the field and into healthier homes as soon as possible.

In unrelated news, team TAMTAM discovered a bowling alley in Kampala and have decided not to quit our day job.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome to Lekha and Sarah!

Sarah Dillard and Lekha Doshi have arrived safely and soundly in Kampala! They have hit the ground running and have joined us out in the field this week. For your reference, here is the park from which we depart when headed into the rural areas of Uganda...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One week down...

After 5 full days in Kampala, we can say that it has been a productive week. Before landing in Kampala, we had been introduced to some contacts in the Ugandan malaria sphere but many variable were still unknown. Now, after our first week, we have been fortunate to meet many knowledgeable and helpful people at various hospitals, government offices, and NGOs. Some highlighted meetings:

  • Africare
  • Rotary Club
  • Malaria Consortium
  • Kairos
  • Centers for Disease Control/President's Malaria Initiative
  • Ford Family Program
  • Various hospitals and officials in rural Ugandan districts

Right now, we write to you from Busia, Kenya, the birthplace of TAMTAM (where the research that began bed net distribution was conducted by development economists). In fact, Jessica Cohen, one of the original founders, happens to be here in Busia with us.

In other news, we will add photos soon- bear with the less than visually-stimulating blog at the moment. We are also moving into a house on Monday- right near an ice cream parlor!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kampala life

3 days in Uganda and 3 days in Kampala. Kampala is as welcoming as advertised... friendly folks, appealing vistas, fine weather. Hasn't taken much time at all to get up to speed here.

This said, we are a bit champing at the bit to visit some sites in the field. Urban Uganda is one particular experience, but the rural areas completely different. The rural areas is where malaria hits the hardest, and life generally more rough. Only then do I think we can really appreciate what fighting malaria in this country entails.

Until then, can't say we've too many complaints. Meetings are starting to come thick and fast... very grateful Lekha and Sarah will be joining us next week! Otherwise, very happy to have hit the ground running... very eager to see what will unfold!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Hello, Uganda

Greetings from Uganda! Paul and I have arrived safely and are busy scheduling meetings with a variety of organizations working on malaria here. We're looking forward to a quick ramp-up and a lot of learning in the early days.

In other news, TAMTAM historical fact of the day: TAMTAM stands for "Together Against Malaria, Tunapenda Afya na Maisha". The latter Swahili portion means "We love health and life". Hope you can get behind that motto too!

Special thanks to Owen Ozier for sending us some of the original TAMTAM files still housed in Kenya!

Friday, June 5, 2009


TAMTAM friends and colleagues,

Welcome to our Summer 2009 TAMTAM blog! Here you will find the latest updates from our work in Uganda. Glad to have you on board!