"While GECC has been using this model for years to provide quality emergency care to those most in need in Uganda, this concept is just now being recognized by the global emergency medicine community as the way forward."
I'm back home in Masaka, Uganda after a refreshing trip to New York to see my cousin get married, and an inspiring stopover for the 2016 African Conference on Emergency Medicine (AfCEM) in Cairo. It was 5 days of nonstop global emergency medicine learning and networking bliss, including 2 days of pre-conference workshops and 3 days of conferencing, with a smattering of Cairo adventures sprinkled in there. I met many wonderful, like-minded people determined to bring quality emergency care to those in our world most in need. All in all, it was incredibly educational, inspiring, humbling, and fun! Of course, this wasn't my first rodeo. I've conferenced before. Mostly in the United States where medical conferences are a dime a dozen. I'm sure if you googled it right now, you would find about a hundred conferences are going on just today across the country. But medical conferences in and for the Global South are much less common. Even more rare is attendance by frontline clinicians from these countries. While they typically make a decent salary for their cost of living, things like airfare, visas, and hotel costs far exceed their budgets. To mitigate these costs and ensure that there are indeed Africans at the African Conference on Emergency Medicine being held in Africa, the conference and various other organizations offer sponsorship to clinicians from low income countries interested in attending.
On our way home, I spoke with Hilary and Glorious about their reflections on the conference. Overall they felt very inspired and invigorated to return and continue moving emergency care forward in Uganda. The acknowledgement of their work by such important speakers, and hearing about similar programs being started in other countries was most impactful. They both felt they also learned a lot, and are excited to put new skills and concepts into practice such as low-resource emergency department management, history taking tips, imaging guidelines for head injury patients, management of drowning victims, and airway management techniques. Additionally, they both had a lot of fun, made new friends, and enjoyed exploring a new culture and A LOT of new foods.