About UNC Project-Uganda
In 2004, a group of UNC physicians established the Amal Murarka International Pediatric Health Foundation in memory of their colleague, Dr. Amal Murarka, who died unexpectedly in 2003. The foundation sent a medical team to Kampala to establish the country's first pediatric intensive care unit at Mulago Hospital, Makerere University, where Dr. Murarka had previously conducted research. Subsequent work in 2007 and 2008 focused on pediatric cardiac surgery. The foundation not only built a cardiac ICU, but also performed a total of 21 life-saving pediatric cardiac surgeries.
In 2008 the foundation partnered with the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases to establish UNC Project-Uganda.
MissionThe UNC Project-Uganda was established to support sustainable delivery of compassionate and competent health care to infants, children, and adolescents in Uganda; to improve the medical knowledge of the Ugandan health care workforce through in-country training and a physician exchange program; and to provide advanced medical equipment, medications, and services necessary for the delivery of compassionate and competent pediatric care in Uganda.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
After arriving several days later than the rest of the group, I was amazed to discover the progress the team had made. They converted an empty room on the 1st floor of Mulago Hospital into a fully functioning Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Full monitoring capabilities are in place and the patients are recovering exceptionally well after surgery. There have, of course, been occasional equipment failures, power surges, and drug shortages, but by and large the children are receiving wonderful care from the Mulago staff and our team working side by side. The Mulago nurses are learning so much from our UNC nurses. The Ugandan surgeons, anesthesiologists, and cardiologists are also gaining an incredible amount of knowledge regarding pediatric cardiac surgery and intensive care.
The children have an amazing spirit and wonderful families, all of which makes their recovery even quicker after surgery. Our first patient, Rehema, has already been discharged home and Edward and Sharon are nearly ready. Our ICU is still full with 4 patients, but Recheal, Jonathan, Alicia, and Emmanuel are all doing so well. The country of Uganda has so much natural beauty. We flew into Entebbe over Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile River.
We arrived in Kampala to find a bustling capital city of over 2 million people. Being in the midst of the rainy season, we have seen rain and thunderstorms each night, while sunshine during the day keeps everything green and lush. No need to set your alarm clock, as the roosters and monkeys just outside the window will wake you with the sunrise. Mulago Hospital and the Makerere University and Medical School are tucked into the gorgeous tree-lined hillsides of Kampala. It is a comforting feeling to know that the children we're taking care of will get to enjoy the beauty of this country for many years to come.
Brian Olsen, MD, UNC PICU Fellow