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.


The 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.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The cardiac ICU

The team has created a highly functioning pediatric cardiac ICU. The four bed unit is now fully monitored (one monitor was needed for Theatre, so we pulled in one that was shipped from UNC via Samaritan's Purse. Electrical connections are problematic...different plugs (2 prong, 3 prong, BIG prong), voltage (120 vs 220), Hz (50 vs 60) and power surges. Jim Morris (Samaritan's Purse) fortunately sent about 10 transformers...we needed them all.....then we need power extensions and power strips to fit the equipment into...it's a series of connections...definitely NOT UL listed....but it works.

We need to be careful in the morning, when the cleaning staff come in with buckets of water and dump buckets of water and soap on the floor to scrub.....CLEAN FLOORS! 2 Ventilators were purchased by Uganda Heart Institute for the mission. They are simple....too simple for patients that require weaning (CPAP mode only)....but SIMV is working well. Our 5 ventilators are on standby and being made operational for use on more complex patients, the PICU and NICU. The IV pumps are working well though we have lost several for no apparent reason. All the patients are coming back with arterial lines ( a first for the Staff). Differences between the couplers for cabling and the transducers has an issue, but we have a workaround for that too. We have central suction.....except when it doesn't work..clogged filters or outage...We have portable suction on standby....ALL is functioning well for the patients though.

One final problem (which we haven't found a solution for) is that the beds don't have side rails....but fortunately the Ugandan children sleep still in the middle of the bed..... As we cross from the main hallway into the ICU (and then the hallway to the Theatre)....there is the DMZ..... two yellow lines with about 5 feet between them. One one side are the street shoes...you remove your shoes there and walk across the DMZ.... On the other side are a variety of boots (fashionable white ones) and flip flops (see Jen's matching toe nail polish in the above picture) or sandals. Everyone shares and then you can walk in... I'm planning on wearing socks each day...

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