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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hard to believe its time to go already....

Our time here is coming to a close, and it is so hard to believe. Looking back at our days here, there have been so many thoughts and emotions. We arrived to many boxes that were shipped months ago, with so many supplies to be unpacked for our mission. The day was long and took a toll on those of us who were first timers here, but it would only be the beginning. Over the next two days, we operated on 2 children per day, keeping us late into the evening. Our days consisted mainly of eating, working and sleeping little before getting up to do it all over again. After those first few days, our bodies and minds acclimated themselves to our environment, allowing us to continue through the rest of the cases, seeing all 10 children do very well with their operations and recovery.

Today, we finished putting away all of our supplies, taking an inventory for the next time we come. We've made our way through the hospital to see the other ICUs, and distribute supplies. We've also taken many pictures and said our initial goodbyes to many new friends. Tonight, they are having a cocktail party for all of the staff at the Ugandan Heart Institute, as well as the staff from the mission. It will be the last time we see them, as we leave early tomorrow morning for Tanzania. I foresee an emotional & exciting evening ahead.

It has been a true honor for me to be a part of this trip. Dr. Kocis and Dr. Sable do amazing work with organizing and executing this incredible undertaking. We've had a wonderful staff of healthcare workers from UNC, DC childrens and Jacksonville, that have worked well together and showed the staff of Uganda what true teamwork looks like. I will miss this place and the people, as I am also excited to come home. I am also thankful to all who have supported us on this mission.

Jennifer Ditto, RN MSN

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