Trip to Wentz Medical Center in Uganda a Life-changing Experience

Editor’s note: USANA Associate Vivian Shih recently visited Uganda on medical and dental missions. While there, she was able to visit the Wentz Medical Center in Gaba and work with staff from the center. She shares her experience in the following blog post.

On the first full day of my 12-day medical and dental missions trip to Uganda, I found myself sitting on the bus, riding through rough terrains like you can never imagine. You feel like you’re traveling around with Indiana Jones!


Vivian Shih

However, the bus made a turn, went through a gate, and here I was, covered in “red dirt” (dry mud), in front of the Wentz Medical Center in Gaba, Uganda. I had to do a double take when I read the word “Wentz.”

There is no way I’m at the Wentz Medical Center that my USANA sponsor, Patti Roney, has been telling me about! It was surreal. I even pulled the in-country host aside and asked: “Wait, is this THE Wentz Center? Like the one with USANA?”

When he said yes, I was ecstatic! In true Vivian fashion, I took out my camera and became a photography reporter. “My USANA family back home would love to see this!”

A Look Inside

While we didn’t provide medical services at the Wentz, we were given the grand tour and also got to work very closely with some of the best Wentz doctors and nurses as we traveled around Uganda to different communities and villages to provide medical treatment.

The Wentz itself is a two-story red-brick building with grass fields in front and back of the facility, allowing for possible future expansion. Inside were plaques describing the Wentz vision and photos of the intended future Wentz Medical Center.

The first floor had a small reception with shelves of pink patient folders, one or two doctor consultation rooms, a procedure room, a dental room, a laboratory, and four American- and African- style toilets (bathrooms) all in one hallway.

One thing that stood out for me was that every single room had a plaque describing the Wentz vision. It was clear as day.

Wentz4You walk until the end of the hallway until you meet a ramp to go to the second floor. As you ascend and look to your left, Lake Victoria meets your eye in the distance. What a beautiful view!

There were a total of four in-patient rooms with the other side of the hallway under construction. They were expecting to finish creating another four to five rooms by the end of the week when we visited.

At the end of the hallway on the left is the maternity ward. Inside the maternity ward, there is an extra door to the labor ward so women give birth in there first, and then transferred to one of the two beds in the maternity ward.

While the Wentz is not as large and grandeur as hospitals in the United States, you can tell this facility is meant FOR THE PEOPLE. It is very well-kept and clean. The facility is also open 24 hours.

‘A Blessed Trip’

As I was leaving, I saw a man sitting inside a brown metal mobile unit by the side of the building. I didn’t know what it was until our in-county host came next to me and said, “This is the staff room.” Wow.

They could have very well given up an extra room for staff inside the building. They could have built another small building. But no, the staff at the Wentz put their patients FIRST. It took me back. The Wentz Medical Center’s motto, “We Care, Jesus Heals,” exudes without question.

Needless to say, when I went to help set up the medical clinic, opened a box, and found myself looking at bottles and bottles of USANA nutritional supplements, I was overwhelmed and in tears. Many of us read and hear in the media: “we are so-and-so charity and we donate this and that to poor countries” and you wonder if it really happens.

But here I was seeing it firsthand. USANA was everywhere. USANA was making a difference. I put USANA Usanimals in the hands of happy children who (while their reason for happiness is the sound that come from the pills shaking within that bottle) will also be smiling with their bodies and their health now that USANA is in their lives.

What a blessed trip indeed.


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