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ER Doctor & Nurse Return from Medical Mission to Uganda

ER Nurse Shireen Mathai and ER Doctor Michael McDonald recently returned from a medical mission trip to Uganda.  The team was there a little over a week and worked in coordination with a local nurse and the African Bible University in Kampala, Uganda, the capital city, to hold a clinic.

In country, it took four days to prepare and transform a church building into a temporary treatment facility.

“A lot of people don’t realize how long it takes to set up a clinic, but we had to estimate how many people we’d see then travel back and forth through the city to buy all the medicine and supplies and meet the other clinicians,” said Mathai.

She estimates they treated 400 to 450 people in one day, from sun up to sun down. Common complaints were malaria, upset stomach, intestinal worms and skin diseases.  Mathai managed the lab and tested for malaria and HIV.

“We have the luxury of working with modern equipment in America, where you may not always have that overseas,” said Mathai.  The group hoped to use a donated ultrasound machine but it didn’t work properly.

This is the second clinic McDonald has organized in Uganda in as many years.  He first visited the continent while on humanitarian medical assignment in Swaziland, during his time in the military.

“I enjoyed the continent and the people quite a lot,” said McDonald.  “Since then, I have been to other countries in Africa but have focused on Uganda because it was previously a British colony and most people speak English.  The man who was my pastor during residency in San Antonio also now teaches at African Bible University.  He connected me with a local Ugandan nurse who helps recruit doctors, nurses, pharmacists and church members to help.”

The ability to do this type of work is what led both McDonald and Mathai to their professions.

“God has given me unique skills that are not just for my own use, but to share with others,” said McDonald. “I believe we are all called to be stewards of what we've been given and this is one way I can use what I've been given to help others.”

Mathai is the daughter of missionaries and lived in India for 8 years.  She has ministered in trips to Swaziland, India and Turkey.

“This is the reason I became a nurse, to do mission work overseas and to help others by doing the Lord’s work,” said Mathai.

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