Effective immediately, the university is suspending all upcoming non-essential, GW-affiliated international travel for students, faculty and staff. This includes future group trips, spring break programs and individual travel. It also includes requests for approval of future international travel and remains in place until July 1. GW community members returning from travel within Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-designated Level 3 Travel Warning countries (which today comprise China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) will continue to be required to self-quarantine off campus for 14 days. This requirement applies even if individuals are only traveling through airports in those countries.
Partnering with Omni Med
For this global learning experience, GW Nursing partners with Omni Med, a NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) in operation since 1998.
Omni Med has an office and lodging in Ntenjeru, Uganda and have been training and maintaining VHTs (community health workers) there since 2008. The priority goal of this partnership is to work collaboratively to provide a wide spectrum of health-related services and activities in this international community health experience.
Omni Med's interest lies in empowering local communities in health. They do this by engaging clinical health volunteers to train and support community health workers. Working closely with their full-time staff of four, they conduct home visits, travel to remote villages to conduct week-long training sessions, and maintain skills by conducting several quarterly meetings with previously trained VHTs each week. They also have a close affiliation with the Koja Health Clinic where interested students can see patients with various tropical and poverty induced illnesses. Omni Med in partnership with volunteers also constructs protected water sources with local villagers and builds indoor cookstoves to reduce indoor air pollution, a major source of pneumonia.
Living and Working Conditions
Omni Med have a well-trained staff that provides orientation and evaluations. They also have a relationship with the physician director of Mukono Health Center IV (the region’s largest) to provide additional support.
Students work in safe conditions. About 50 volunteers over 5 years have worked in the area with none experiencing trauma or illness more than the nuisance variety (transient diarrhea). Omni Med has staff able to respond to any emergencies and transport to Mukono Health Center IV or to Kampala for more serious emergencies. All volunteers must have health and evacuation insurance.
Location and Language
Omni Med are located in Mukono District, Uganda. This is the district just east of Kampala on the Jinja Highway, roughly 15 miles from Kampala. Mukono District is bordered by Kayunga District to the north, Buikwe District to the east, Kalangala District to the south-west, Kira Town and Wakiso District to the west, and Luweero District to the north-west. The town of Mukono is about 13 miles by road, east of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.
The local language is Luganda, though many people in the region speak English. Omni Med's entire staff is fluent in English, as are most health providers in Uganda. For interactions with VHTs, we always have interpreters available.