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.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Team UNC

The 11 members of Team UNC are:

Keith Kocis, MD - pediatric cardiac intensivist and founder
Katherine Desrochers, RN - PICU nurse
Karla Brown, RN, PNP - pediatric cardiac surgery nurse practitioner
Jennifer Olsen, RN - PICU nurse
Bill Nicotra - cardiopulmonary bypass perfusionist
Ruben Bocanegra - physician assist in cardiac surgery
Brian Olsen, MD - senior pediatric intensive care fellow
Lupe Haynes, RRT - pediatric respiratory therapist
Helen Snow - public relations and patient liaison
Debbie Sams - child health advocate and patient liaison
Pablo Durana - cinematographer


Uganda Medical Mission Team said...
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Diane said...

We're all waiting to hear how the trip there went. What is the itinery? What is the end goal of this trip? Which cardiac defects will the pediatric cardiac surgeries plan to correct or train the Ugandan medical professionals to correct? What is the incidence of these congenital heart defects in Uganda? In Africa? What Ugandan public health officials or offices are involved in this endeavor? Just a few questions for you all to entertain as you sip Eagle Extra.

Uganda Medical Mission Team said...

Hi Diane,
We'll try to keep up with things, but we're moving fast...
Our Goal is to be here in Kampala, to establish a pediatric cardiac surgical program that is sustainable over time. This we believe we can accomplish through essential equipment and supplies (that we have brought with us), training of our colleagues here in Kampala (each team member is matched with a "partner" on the Ugandan Team, and ongoing support for the program, both locally and from the US. I just posted our surgical schedule....still in flux.
I'm not sure I've seen epi studies, but we have ALOT of kids with unrepaired CHD. I would assume it's similar to US number (8 per 1000) BUT they have a much higher incidence of acquired lesions (ie Rheumatic Heart Disease, etc). Yesterday, the Assistant Minister of Health came to greet us in the Hospital. At our opening reception last night we were hosted by the Board of Directors of the Mulago Hospital, The Board of the The Heart Institute, and the former Province Governor who was instrumental in establishing the Heart Institute nearly 20 years ago... Needless to say the country is putting alot of resources and support into this effort. Extra Eagle???
talk soon....

Becca said...

Hi all. I am totally impressed with you for coordinating this. It sounds wonderful. Good luck with your surgeries--please let us know how they go, and the details of how the care is different and challenging. My real question is who is watching the Olson's kids?
Miss you all, Love, Becca Carchman