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.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
All of that was destroyed however, when smoke started emerging from the electrical AC box, and sparks started flying. I immediately thought, "fire extinguisher"....... and then quickly realized there is none. So, we turned off the power, and quickly turned off all the oxygen to the patients, and removed the patients from the unit, and ushered everyone in the acute care area (which is adjacent to the PICU) outside. Then I began assessing the patients out on the sidewalk to make sure that when we could return, the sickest were let back in first.
Maybe not surprisingly, the patients and their families did not seem that alarmed or frightened by the whole event. They calmly went outside and waited. There was no yelling, no crying, no running. When I asked one of the matrons (that's what they call their nurses) if this kind of thing happens often, she said "No, this has never happened". So, why was I the only one who's heart was racing? Struggle and calamity...... death and tragedy are an every day way of life for the people here. Yet, there is a resilience and hope and light that can be seen in the eyes of the people. They find joy in the simple pleasures of life -- a song or a nap on the grass in the sun. I am humbled to be witness to the rawness and purity of humanity in this place.