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.
Monday, October 5, 2009
What strikes me about this mission is the outstanding teamwork amongst the UNC team members and the Uganda Heart Institute staff with a common goal to provide safe surgical and postoperative conditions. There have been numerous tribulations this year ranging from illness in both the US and Ugandan team members; several children with respiratory infections and 3 of the children with active malaria. The anesthesia delivery system failed in the middle of one of the cases requiring completion of the case without it and a late night anesthesia machine repair “party” to repair it as replacement parts were not available. Drs. Mijumbi and Ejoku, the Ugandan anesthesiologists have demonstrated excellent clinical skills and are close to functioning independently.
Through all of the adversity team members have tirelessly pitched in- nurses, Respiratory Care Practitioners, biomedical engineers, surgeons and ICU attendings alike - to assist the anesthesia team in providing safe intraoperative care of the children. Separate thanks need to go to Karla, Katherine, Jen and Rueben assuring that all needed supplies were on site and Dr. Kocis for his energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness in coordinating such a large scale project.
-- Gene Freid