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, October 11, 2008

The skilled surgeon and his OR team

The years of planning, screening patients, organizing, arriving, and preparing are all necessary for the critical 60 minutes of bypass time and 30 minutes of cross clamp time necessary to correct the child's intracardiac defect. During this time, all the pieces of the team must come together in complete synchronicity and harmony for Dr. Michael Mill to surgically heal the child on the OR table. Closest to him is Jenn Ditto, OR Scrub nurse, and Ruben Bocanegra, physicians assistant, while Bill Nicotra runs the bypass machine and Dr. Gene Freid keeps the patient unconscious, immobile, and pain free. This team that works so well at UNC hundreds of times a year, is now displaced to a foreign land some 7900 miles away. They are in the final stages of preparing their Ugandan counterparts to continue these procedures independently with their own team once we depart. The handoff has occurred....Drs. John Omagino, Tom Mwambu and Michael Oketcho are the Ugandan Cardiac Surgeons; Obwin John the Scrub RN; Sam Wambuzi the perfusionist; and Dr. Cephas Mijumbi is the anesthesiologist.

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