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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meeting Uganda's First Lady, Janet Museveni

Yesterday I had the privilege of being part of small delegation from Mulago to travel to Entebbe to the new "White House" for President Museveni and his wife Janet, who is also a member of Parliament representing her home region in southwest Uganda. The White House is perched atop a hill that overlooks Lake Victoria with 180 degrees of breathtaking views. After passing through strict armed security we were led down marble hallways and open air passages to a large open pavilion with views of the lake, flatscreen tv featuring CNN, and high tea service. It really was spectacular!

All of this beauty helped to pass the time as we waited 1.5 hours to see the First Lady. But we have learned that "africa time" is usually approximate at best. The wait was worth it. Hon. Janet Museveni is a tall, statuesque African woman who is regal in her carriage and as warm and intelligent a person as we have met here. She listened with great interest about the medical mission and the growth of the Pediatric Heart Program at Mulago and thanked us many times for coming so far to help so many.

We presented her a photobook featuring the 2007 Medical Mission and she was so pleased that she could see the children who's lives have been saved. We told her that her husband's commitment of support to help the Mulago Heart Institute grow was very important to our leveraging other support for Mulago and Uganda. We also discussed the promise of telemedicine for expanding our teaching and consulting capacity between Mulago and UNC. She was very interested in this and hopes that eventually telemedicine will be able to connect rural clinics with Ugandan urban hospitals like Mulago.

We invited the First Lady to come to UNC to give an address on global health and the challenges of rural health access worldwide, but especially in developing nations. I promised to send her an invitation when I return and hope that she will visit us in North Carolina when her husband attends the United Nations meeting in 2009. As we departed the White House, we were blessed with a beautiful sunset over Lake Victoria which I hope signifies a glorious future for Uganda.

Helen Snow, UNC Team
October 14, 2008

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