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.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our safe arrival home

We left Kampala and began our journey home traveling through Nairobi, Kenya. Helen Snow and Debbie Sams spent three days at UNC's Carolina for Kibera Program, an amazing experience (see Helen's Blog below). We traveled from there to Amsterdam through Detroit and finally home to RDU. We were all exhausted but glad to be home once again reunited with our families and our children. I thank my two children, Kyra and Connor for letting me leave them for two weeks to travel far away across an ocean and several continents to help other children with greater needs and far fewer opportunities. At ages 9 and (almost) 8, I am pleasantly surprised that they understand....Of course, I rewarded them with artifacts from Africa and they were thrilled.

Overall, we had 3 people with brief GI illnesses (fever, chills and sweats) and one lost bag on the return home. We hope it will be found. We will continue to take our Malarone to prevent malaria, since we did get bitten a bit in Kampala. We have had so many conversations on the return trip and even today at work at what an amazing experience this has been for us all. We worked so hard, for many months planning this trip, but no planning could account for all that we had to face and overcome. We all adapted quickly and gracefully to make this medical mission a success.

I am so proud and honored to have lead the UNC team over the past 2 weeks. This was an amazing group of people who came together and gave so much of their time, expertise, but most importantly, their hearts, for the success of this mission...I remind myself that this is not a characteristic of a few individuals, but of our wonderful institution. Core values of all we work with who have been encouraging us and following our mission through the blog. Unfortunately, so many individuals had volunteered and yet we could not take them all with us on this mission.

These are values we live with each day in caring for the children of North Carolina. I am so happy to be home again in Chapel Hill.

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