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, April 16, 2011

oh boda boda

Wearing helmets while riding a boda boda (a motorcycle named because it used to rocket from border to border) would do much to prevent head injuries after collisions. Here's some bkgd on the issue.  Helmet laws are fairly easy to enforce. Tickets, fines, confiscations all do the job. But, health behaviors are really hard. Convincing people to break out of their habits is one of the toughest jobs I know. Women object because it messes their hair. Helmets heavy and bulky when you're walking around during the day. Helmets aren't free, and Ugandans aren't rich. Excuses all, but just one more challenge for health educators. I heard a rumor that the president stepped in and halted the program, that it oppressed his people.

Only having one or two people on each boda boda would also improve the accident situation. We've seen boda bodas carrying three people, plus children and bags. On our way to Kampala from the airport, an accident between a boda boda and a full taxi happened right beside our moving bus. No helmets on any of the drivers, of course.

Also, talking on a mobile phone usually requires one hand to hold the phone, which means that only one hand is steering the boda boda. Add in that the potholes on these roads eat tires for breakfast plus, well, staying in one's own lane is just so restrictive! 

Unfortunately, boda boda's are an economic necessity for many. Cheaper than a car to buy, to fuel and to repair, they meet the needs of many in a tight economy.


No comments: