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.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lupe Haynes, RRT RCP

I've been a respiratory therapist for 12 years now and I've been employed with UNC Hospitals for twelve years as well. I initially worked primarily with adults and didn't have much interest in the pediatric population. In fact, sick children terrified me! However, over time I felt I needed to challenge myself further in my career and I knew I would obtain further growth and exposure to new things in the pediatric realm. And boy was I challenged! I have come to love what I do and my role in helping children on their way to recovery. Every story doesn't end on a happy note but when they do, it motivates me to continue to strive to deliver the best respiratory care possible. I pray that God give me the wisdom to make the right decisions involving my management of my patients.

Over time, I have learned so much and was so blessed to be involved in the first heart medical mission in Uganda October 2007. When I was invited to attend the mission , I was so honored but at the same time terrified because this was another crossroad decision for me. This would be a great opportunity to give to those that were less fortunate than me. That alone was the best reason to go but the difficult part was would I be able to perform my job to the fullest? Would the experience and exposure I've had in the PICU be enough to help guide my decisions in the management of the patients in Uganda?

The trip was a great success and every health care professional that volunteered their time and compassion for the patients in Uganda left as better human beings. I've learned to be so grateful for what we have available here in the US and that it is so much better to give than receive. Because in giving you get out of your selfish mode and realize that it could be me on the other end and that alone makes me so grateful for what I do have.

I've been invited to go again this year and I"m so excited and can't wait to see my Uganda family again. My goal this year is to be able to educate the staff on ventilator management and the role of the respiratory therapist. My hopes are that I can build on the knowledge the nurses and doctors obtained last year and get them a step closer to being more self-sufficient in the respiratory management of pediactric heart patients. I will not only be performing patient care but aiding in establishing the role of respiratory care within the Uganda Heart Institute.

Lupe Haynes, RRT RCP

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our third medical mission to Mulago Hospital, October 4-16 2008

The UNC team returns next month along with our partners from Children's National Medical Center and University of Florida, to continue to advance the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program at Mulago Hospital with the near term goal of self sufficient, sustainable care for Ugandan children with heart disease.

UNC Team
Keith Kocis, MD - team leader and cardiac intensivist
Michael Mill, MD - cardiac surgeon
Benny Joyner, MD - intensive care fellow
Karla Brown, RN, PNP - surgical nurse practitioner
Katherine Desrochers, RN - ICU nurse
Bren Sparling, RN - ICU nurse
Sandra Hawkins, RN - ICU nurse
Jennifer Ditto, RN - OR nurse
Diane Yorke, RN, PhD - clinical education leader
Tiffany Mabe, RRT - respiratory therapist
Guadalupe Haynes, RRT - respiratory therapist
Ruben Bocanegra - cardiac surgery physician assistant
Bill Nicotra - cardiopulmonary perfusionist
Helen Snow, MBA - patient and donor delations

Craig Sable, MD - team leader and cardiologist
Lowell Frank, MD - cardiology fellow
Laura Olivieri, MD - cardiology fellow
Justine Nalubega, RN - cardiology nurse
Ozzie Rivera - biomedical engineer
Lynda Dattilio, RN - ICU nurse
Christa Cato, RN - ICU nurse

Stephanie Lacey, MD - team leader and cardiologist
Eugene Freid, MD - cardiac anesthesiology

Cathy Partyka, MD - neonatologist