Dr. Charles Holt is a physician at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, but he's also trained in tropical medicine, which he puts to use during two to three trips each year to Uganda. He just left for another month-long trip.
"The first year was an eye opening experience and watching all these 20 year olds in front of you die when here they could be healthy," said Dr. Holt.
Dr. Holt began traveling to Uganda about five years ago after getting trained in the tropical medical program at Tulane University and then receiving a scholarship from Yale University.
"Uganda has one very large what we call tertiary hospital, and that's in Kumpala and I'm an attending physician there. So I see patients on a daily basis," he said.
Dr. Holt said HIV was first discovered in Uganda, so he sees a lot of patients with HIV and its effects.
"Lots of my patients also have TB, and most also have Hepatitis B & C and half will have Malaria," said Dr. Holt.
The Des Moines University graduate said people come to the hospital too late -- typically because they don't have any money.
That's part of the reason he started the Caring Hands Foundation.
It's a faith-based, non-profit organization providing medical, social and economical support to people in Uganda free of charge.
"You get engaged because the needs are so in front of you 100 percent of the time. You can't say I'm not going to get involved," said Dr. Holt.
The ER doctor said you do what you can in Uganda.
There are limited resources, about one nurse for 200 patients and the average life expectancy is just 56 years of age.
Dr. Holt knows he can't change everything, but he hopes his work can make some difference for people in Uganda.
For more information on Dr. Holt's work, click here.
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