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 7, 2009

The pediatric cardiac surgical mission concludes

We left UNC 12 days ago to travel to Uganda to train Ugandan health care providers to perform one of the most complex and difficult surgical therapies: open heart cardiac surgery. Building on the work and success of the last two years, Team UNC quickly reestablished, restocked, and reorganized the operating room, cardiac bypass perfusion, and ICU into a fully functional state. During the first four days, two operations were performed each day by Dr. Michael Mill, with the final two cases concluding on Saturday and Monday. The results are that ten Ugandan children from ages 2 to 14 have had their severe cardiac disability corrected, for a lifetime. These children leave the hospital with a scar on their chest as a sign of the work that was done, but free from disability, heart failure, and multiple daily cardiac medications. Their spirit, energy, and appetites have already markedly improved.

We continue to advanced the abilities of Team Uganda towards independence and skill in increasingly more complex surgeries. The goal is long-term sustainability of the pediatric congenital heart surgery program so they can successfully and expertly correct the wide variety of cardiac defects found in the children of this country.

We depart from Kampala today leaving behind unforgettable memories of new and old friends and colleagues. Most importantly, though we sent home from the Mulago Hospital ten children who now look at their lives with hope, excitement, and new-found energy to face the rigors of childhood, school, and life in this developing country.


Tina Willis said...

Great work you make us all so proud. Can't wait to see you all back home again!

Tina Willis said...

You make us all so proud! Can't wait to see y'all back home!

Dr John Omagino said...

Whereas we appreciate the input from the UNC team, we feel that not all that is stated is true. The ICU at the heart Institute was set up by the ministry of Health Uganda , the equipment was donated by the Late crown Prince of the Royal Kingdom of Suadi arabia. Dr Craig Sable of Washington Children's hospital is our most valuable partner without whom this program would not have been possible. The local doctors too should deserve mention!
Dr. John Omagino. Director Uganda Heart Institute.