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.
MissionThe 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 2, 2008
Pediatrics has always been near and dear to my heart. My big interest has always been pediatric cardiac patients. I am very grateful to be able to go over on this trip to help with these cardiac patients.
I was with the first group from UNC to go to the Mulago Hospital in 2005 to set up the PICU. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. The people are absolutely wonderful and it truly makes you want to go back and help as much as you can.
When we visited the first time, we were allowed the opportunity to spend time in all of the areas of the hospital, including the Burn ICU, Neonatal ICU, and the cardiac clinic. This really allowed us to see where we needed to focus efforts to help out at the Mulago Hospital. The cardiac clinic really caught our attention. The physician would see many patients in clinic and truly make a diagnosis and treatment plan by looking at the patient, listening with a stethescope and follow-up appointments with medications. It was amazing to see how they were working with these children, who were in dire need of cardiac surgery, and managing them as best as they could to help them to have a somewhat "normal" life.
This in turn led to Dr. Kocis taking on the challenge of "beefing up" our efforts to help the children of the Mulago Hospital, and Africa on a much bigger level. Teaching, training, and gathering supplies for the first trip over to begin pediatric cardiac surgery. This first trip was a huge success in 2007, and the efforts have continued since the return of the team.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip to help the children in need of pediatric cardiac surgery. I feel the need to give as much as I can to others, since I have been given a huge blessing. That blessing is having both of my parents alive and well. My father had a major heart attack in March of 2006, underwent the placement of a Jarvick Left Ventricular Assist Device, and now has been given a second chance at life with a new HEART! God has blessed my family over the past couple of years.
I hope and pray that I can give some of the knowledge that I have to the staff of the Mulago Hospital in order to enable them to grow, and take care of these wonderful children that are in need of cardiac surgery.
Tiffany Mabe, RRT