Do you ever have those days where you are feeling some kind of emotion and you don’t know what to do about it? Where you know that actually doing something to take care of yourself would be helpful, but you can’t really bring yourself to think about what that something is? If so, you might benefit from creating an emotional first-aid kit.
What do I mean by emotional first-aid kit? I am referring to a go-to LIST OF ACTIVITIES, SONGS, TV SHOWS, MOVIES, ETC. that help you feel better when you are feeling down. The important thing about this first-aid kit is that it has been created when you are feeling okay. Think about it this way, when we get a cut or burn or something around the house we look to our first-aid kits because they have the things we might need in these situations already in one place. We don’t have to spend time looking around the house for supplies or wondering what would work well for this particular ailment. An emotional first-aid kit should function the same way.
Why am I suggesting that you create an emotional first-aid kit? Because in my work as a therapist, and my lived experience as a human being on this planet, I have noticed that it is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day without taking time to actually take care of ourselves. We can easily ignore the feelings we have or push them aside in the hope that they go away, without actually working to understand what we are feeling, why we are feeling that way, and what we can do about it. I don’t know about you, but I was never really taught how to take care of myself when a difficult emotion arose. The response was often, “It’s going to be okay. You just have to keep going.” This is fine to some degree, but we also have to know how to ride the emotional wave while the feelings are present and how to care for ourselves during that time. It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves so that we can move through the world in a way that actually allows us to be our full selves.
When thinking about creating your emotional first-aid kit, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
- Do I want this first-aid kit to be an actual physical box or will a list on my phone or on a sticky note on my fridge suffice?
- What kinds of things tend to soothe me when I feel sad, angry, lonely, afraid, anxious, etc.? We might need different things for different emotions. For example, when I’m sad I may need to curl up with something cozy and soft. When I’m angry I may need to be more active. You get the idea.
- Are there people that can help me during difficult emotional states? Can I make sure I have their names and contact information readily available?
- Be holistic. Make sure you are including activities that tend to your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and creative wellness.
Once you have your emotional first-aid kit created be sure to use it! If it’s a physical box or container, put it somewhere where you will see it so that you can use it in your time of need. If it’s a list of some
sort, make sure it is easily accessible. You can also talk to someone you trust about this tool kit so that they can remind you to use it. Or you can invite them to create one with you for themselves.
One final note, know that you can check-in and see how your emotional first-aid kit is serving you. Switch out things that don’t work or add new things that you stumble upon that you think could be helpful. Make this first-aid kit specific to you and your needs. Good luck and feel secure in knowing that you have the tools you need to help you care for yourself during difficult times.
Manager, Counselling and Guidance Centre,
Plot 106, Mary Stuart Road (Opposite Mary Stuart Hall),
Mak’s GMI Labs Authorized to Conduct DNA Paternity Testing
The Genomics, Molecular, and Immunology Laboratories (GMI Labs), operating under the auspices of the Makerere University Biomedical Research Center (MakBRC), have achieved another significant milestone in their journey of diagnostic excellence. The labs, renowned for their pivotal role in infectious and non-infectious disease research, have received official approval from the Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Uganda, to conduct DNA Paternity Tests.
Situated at the Dept of Immunology & Molecular Biology under the School of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, the GMI Labs have been at the forefront of cutting-edge research, diagnostic testing, and training initiatives. Their remarkable contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they conducted nearly a million PCR tests, underscored their unwavering commitment to public health and scientific advancement. The labs’ exemplary performance and reliability were further highlighted by their successful management of two critical COVID-19 prevalence surveys. The findings of these surveys served as foundational data for crucial decisions guiding the country’s lockdown strategies and phased reopening, earning commendation from the President and the Ministry of Health.
This latest authorization from the Ministry of Health marks a significant expansion of the GMI Labs’ diagnostic capabilities. With the approval to conduct DNA Paternity Tests, the labs are now equipped to offer a crucial service addressing the need for accurate and reliable genetic testing for determining biological parentage. In a letter dated 22nd November 2023, the Director General Health Services emphasized the laboratory’s rigorous adherence to international standards, proficiency in molecular biology techniques, and their proven track record in delivering precise and credible results. This approval further solidifies the labs’ position as a trusted institution for advanced genetic diagnostics in Uganda.
Prof. Moses L Joloba, the Director of the GMI Labs, expressed immense pride in the team’s dedication and expertise that led to this authorization. He highlighted the labs’ commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice, confidentiality, and accuracy in DNA paternity testing, ensuring the delivery of dependable results crucial for legal, personal, and familial purposes.
The inclusion of DNA Paternity Testing within the GMI Labs’ list of services aligns with their overarching goal of advancing healthcare through state-of-the-art diagnostics, research, and education. This milestone represents not only a significant achievement for the labs but also a valuable resource for individuals seeking reliable and comprehensive genetic testing services. As the GMI Labs continue their unwavering commitment to excellence in healthcare and research, this new capability reaffirms their pivotal role in advancing the frontiers of molecular diagnostics and genetic testing in Uganda, working closely with reputable institutions such as Makerere University Hospital and other top-notch health facilities.
MNCH e-Post Issue 121: Learning from Nsambya Hospital Human Milk Bank to inform national scale-up & save preterm babies
Welcome to this exclusive interview with Prof. Peter Waiswa, lead expert from the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka from St. Francis Nsambya Hospital, and Dr. Jesca Nsungwa from Ministry of Health Uganda. In this video, they discuss a groundbreaking innovation in Uganda’s healthcare landscape: the country’s first-ever human milk bank at St. Francis Hospital Nsambya. This initiative represents a significant stride towards improving the survival rates of premature and vulnerable infants by ensuring access to essential breast milk, even when mothers are unable to produce enough. Watch Video
METS Newsletter October 2023
The Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) Program is a 5-year CDC-supported collaboration of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Health Information Systems Program (HISP Uganda).
Highlights of the METS October 2023 Newsletter
- Strategies for Enhanced Disease Surveillance and Public Health Response in Uganda
- The MoH Department of Integrated Epidemiology Surveillance & Public Health Emergencies (IES&PHE) Head, Commissioner Allan Muruta (Dr) visited METS to acquaint himself with the various surveillance activities supported by the Program.
- Commissioner Muruta emphasized the need to build the capacity of districts and regions to conduct surveillance activities by training the relevant staff and establishing surveillance focal points at health facility levels.
- He further emphasized the importance of linking laboratory data to the District Health Information System (DHIS2) and ensuring that different systems are interoperable.
- Improving quality of data for HIV testing services (HTS) through regular assessments
- MoH has been conducting Data Quality Assessments and Improvement (DQAI) activities to inform program planning, monitoring, and performance management. HIV testing services (HTS) inter was conducted in 16 regions, 81 districts, and 111 health facilities in partnership with 26 Implementing partners.
- The HTS DQA has improved data management, infrastructure, and understanding of indicators. Specific staff assignment at each HTS entry point has proven effective, and use of the UgandaEMR system for reporting has yielded positive results.
- Shaping Uganda’s Healthcare Data Landscape
- METS has maintained a strong collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) providing invaluable technical support in developing various strategic guidelines for the country. These guidelines include the Uganda Health Information Exchange and Interoperability (HIE) Guidelines, the Uganda Health Data Protection and Confidentiality (HDPC) Guidelines, and the Uganda Health Data Sharing, Access, and Use Guidelines.
- HIE and HDPC guidelines have received the endorsement of the Health Information, Innovation and Research (HIIRE) Technical Working Group (TWG), awaiting presentation to the senior management team at the MoH for final approval.
- Empowering Health Professionals: PrEP Training in Hoima District
- MakSPH-METS has taken a proactive stance in supporting Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for key populations through the development, management, and conducting trainings on the use of the PrEP tracker system across various agencies.
- METS conducted a 5-day training on the KP/PrEP Tracker system in Hoima district. Moving forward, facility staff will be able to enter data on PrEP services into the system in a timely manner, analyze the data, and use it for program improvement.
- HIV testing services (HTS) Data Quality Assessments and Improvement DQAIs
- Interagency cervical cancer on-site mentorships
- Orientation in KP tracker-Soroti
- TDY from CDC headquarters visit to METS
- M&E orientation meetings for new Implementing Partners
- Planning meeting for Cross Border Data Sharing-Busia
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