We are honored and humbled to receive recognition from the honorable U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for our 10 years of work building emergency care systems and saving lives in Uganda.
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"Watching the transformation of the ECPs over the first six months of their education was immensely gratifying. Not only did they make great bounds in didactic knowledge and clinical skill, they also gained personal confidence.
Ashley Pickling got the opportunity to combine her interests of Global Health and Emergency Medicine when she volunteered and completed research with GEC and Barriers to Care Research Project. She spent six months in Nyakibale, with each day brining new experiences and a better understanding of the challenges involved with differing attitudes in medicine and related research. When discussing her involvement with focus groups that were a part of the Barriers to Care Research Project, Ashley highlighted that “Emergency Care Providers (ECP’s) have truly become trusted leaders within the community”. ECP’s have gotten the chance to educate their communities on emergencies and Emergency Department care. The proudest moment of her volunteer experience was being able to see firsthand the capacity building stemming from the knowledge, skills, and confidence that were gained by the ECP students.
An experience that resonates with Ashley was a visit to a boarding school in Uganda. There she had encountered an 8-year old Ugandan boy, Andrew, who she had originally met at the ED after an incident of domestic violence. The GEC team had worked with a hospital social worker to find a school for him to attend and a responsible family member to stay with on holiday. He took Ashley around the school and introduced her to his new friends and showed her his schoolwork. At that moment, Ashley was proud of GEC and the dedication to make a difference in Andrew’s life.
Give today and DOUBLE your impact. Your gift will train 10 new ECPs who save lives everyday!
"Being able to identify life-threatening conditions, treating patients with efficiency and speed, and train new ECPs to do the same is the most thrilling part of working with GEC"
Owen brings life to patients in critical condition. The ECP of over three years takes great pride in his work and the education GEC provided him. “I have been able to learn about a lot of procedures,” said Owen. Being able to identify life-threatening conditions, treating patients with efficiency and speed, and train new ECPs to do the same is the most thrilling part of working with GEC. Owen said his life has been changed forever.
Give now and DOUBLE your impact! Your gift will directly train 10 new ECPs, like Owen, who save lives everyday!
"I have been able to share my knowledge with different health workers from other countries, and ultimately earn a living doing something I am passionate about."
Natukunda Elizabeth had been an ECP for 8 years. She is from the town of Rukungiri and has one daughter. Being an ECP has allowed her to handle several emergencies on her own, something that she was not used to doing before. She has also had the opportunity to teach junior ECP’s. Elizabeth finds her job as an ECP incredibly rewarding because patients appreciate what she does for them. She is able to see patients leave the hospital after being treated. Elizabeth has also gotten the chance to do procedures that would be done by doctors and identify surgical cases using an ultrasound scan.
The positive impact on ECP’s on the community has allowed people to develop confidence in health workers. Relationships have formed between health workers and the community, in addition to a relationship between the government and ECP’s.
Elizabeth’s most memorable case was a 25-year old man who came into the ER after being hit by a motorcycle. When arriving at the ER, he was responsive with were no signs of visible bleeding. After performing an initial examination, the patient was given pain medication and sutures were started. During suturing, the man began seriously convulsing and was given medication immediately. The patient stabilized, and after performing vitals again, his sutures were finished. This taught Elizabeth to take trauma patients seriously and look past superficial injuries. She learned how essential patient monitoring and several consecutive examinations are in trauma cases.
Elizabeth stressed several reasons how being an ECP has changed her life. She is now more confident in saving lives after acquiring more knowledge and improving on her skills. She also thoroughly enjoys teaching others and working in a team setting. Elizabeth has been able to share her knowledge with different health workers from other countries, and ultimately earn a living doing something she is passionate about. She is empowered by the fact that she is now able to interpret x-rays, teach nurses, handle several emergencies, and perform FAST exams as an ECP. Elizabeth no longer has to wait for doctor in order to save a life.
Give now and DOUBLE your impact! Your gift will directly train 10 new ECPs, like Elizabeth, who save lives everyday!
"The concept of rapid, emergency care which we take for granted in America is not the standard in Uganda. But GECC is helping make it the standard."
Dr. Omeed Saghafi became involved with GEC when he heard about the organization through his former residency director. He has volunteered for 2 years and helped remotely with some curriculum. Omeed had a strong desire to want to help people since he was 5 years old. Originally, he wanted to “transition his love of science into something more tangible”. In college, he studied bioengineering, wanting to make devices that could help create change throughout the world. While working with surgeons after college, he made the decision to go to medical school and ignited a passion for emergency medicine. When capturing what it means to be a volunteer with GEC, he expressed that you live medicine all day long. By living on hospital grounds, student would stop by to talk to him and ask for assistance with difficult cases in the ER. He mainly functioned in an “attending” role while in Uganda, allowing students to take care of patients as he provided recommendations and taught students on the spot. In addition, Omeed would work with other senior ECP’s to develop lectures and apply them into practice. The most impactful part of the work he contributed was the idea that the students he taught would go on to teach others and save lives.
Omeed believes everyone should have access to basic emergency care, and that GEC is taking major steps to help establish and define what emergency care is in Uganda. Through his time with GEC, he has grown professionally, learning even more about similarities and differences in medicine and delivery of care from another country perspective. The people he has met along the way in Uganda and at GEC have empowered him to continue to work for the organization. The GEC mission is something he is constantly inspired by and saw through the dedication to their students. He expanded upon by vocalizing that staff views the students as their own family members and want the same medical care for the people of Uganda that would be expected for their own children in the US.
Omeed encourages individuals to donate time and money. Having seen the internal workings of GEC from an outside perspective, he guarantees that funds go directly to the people and appropriately used. For individuals that donate time, he is personally proud of the relationships he has built and the people he has helped. Ultimately, Omeed hopes that GEC changes the way emergency medicine is viewed and provided in Uganda, and that the model used can one day be expanded to other countries.
Give today and DOUBLE your impact! Your gift will directly train 10 new ECPs, like JB, who save lives everyday!
"Being an ECP to me means working hard with a lot of expectations, but with the goal of saving lives"
Kamugisha John Bosco (JB) is 31 years old and has been an ECP for 10 years. He is from the town of Rukungiri and is married with two daughters and a son. Being an ECP has given him a career that he passionately works hard at with the ultimate goal of saving lives. JB has had the opportunity to train ECP’s that are now currently managing their own patients.
JB finds being an ECP is incredibly rewarding by allowing him to do research and clinical work, as well as offering him the ability to attend technology workshops. In addition, he appreciates that by being an ECP, the work that he does is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specific Development Goals that come to his mind include SDG 3 and SDG 4, relating to good health/wellbeing and health promotion/education. JB values the good leadership and teamwork that the GEC community has created.
The ECP program has created a lasting impact on the community. Specific impacts that JB has seen include a reduction in mortality rates, focus on patients’ wellbeing, and health education.
His most memorable case was a child referred to the ED after being managed for bacillary dysentery. After completing a full examination, it was determined that the child actually had intussusception. The child underwent a successful operation and was released. JB is proud to be an ECP and continue his education and research work.
Give today and DOUBLE your impact! Your gift will directly train 10 new ECPs, like JB, who save lives everyday!
" I am most proud of the Emergency Care Practitioners because they are the first line for severely sick patients and they know they can save lives when empowered to do so."
Dr. Stacey Chamberlain is one of the co-founders of GEC and she currently works at the University of Illinois at Chicago as an Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine. She also holds multiple director positions at the UIC College of Medicine, UIC Center for Global Health, and the UIC Department of Emergency Medicine. Stacey is a mother to two young children, Jocelyn and Gabriel, ages 5 and 6.
Stacey took her first trip to Uganda in 2006 and has been with GEC since the organization’s beginning in 2007. She works for GEC because she passionately believes in social justice and health equity. In sub-Saharan Africa, health injustice is widespread and apparent. Stacey finds the work that she is doing with GEC to “have such a tremendous impact on preventing needless death through simple readily available treatments like getting people antibiotics, hydration, and wound care.” She stresses the need to create sustainable change that requires long-term investment. This starts by building meaningful relationships, showing continuous commitment, and persevering in the face of any challenges. When reflecting on how her experience with GEC has affected her experience as a physician in the US, Stacey is cognizant of resource utilization and patient-centered medicine. She teaches trainees to truly think about cost implications, the need for tests ordered, and adapting care to the needs of each patient. She is most proud of the ECP’s and their drive to better advance their skills and knowledge. By seeking out the opportunity to participate in the GEC program, they are now the first line for critically ill patients and ultimately empowered to save lives.
Give today and DOUBLE your impact! Your gift will directly train 10 new ECPs who save lives everyday!
"Seeing new skills taught, learned, and put into practice to save a life which before likely could not be saved is extremely rewarding and makes me so proud of the hard work the ECPs put into learning emergency medicine and translating that learning to action in the department."
Mariel Colella (NP) has been a volunteer with GEC for 4 years and currently works at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She has taken a total of 3 trips so far to Nyakibale and Masaka in Uganda, and has also traveled to Egypt with two ECPs, Glorious and Hilary, for the African Emergency Medicine Conference. Mariel believes “the role of medical providers in the global health field is to stimulate and support education and sustainable capacity development, which is what GEC does.” She finds it rewarding to watch the new skills taught in emergency medicine put into practice to save lives. Mariel learned about the resourcefulness and improvisation of the ECP’s to provide care.
The communities have confidence that their local hospitals will deliver quality care in emergency situations. She really puts it into perspective the privilege we have in the US when treating patients and how similar situations in Uganda are managed differently, but effectively. When looking back on the memorable experiences in Uganda, she can’t help but think of the amazing friendships she made and the joy she had going to work everyday there. Mariel is proud of the GEC board and the commitment to ECP’s and staff. The level of respect is something to be admired as the ECP’s have a strong voice in the future of GEC.
Please consider a donating today. Your gift will directly train more ECPs who save lives everyday!
"I'm proud of being an ECP because I feel confident in taking care of critical patients and knowing how to treat them first."
Glorious has gained confidence in the last three and a half years of her work as an ECP. Being an ECP has changed her life, Glorious said, because she is now able to decisively care for critically ill patients and confidently perform procedures most other nurses don’t have the training to complete. The 25-year-old mother has pushed herself in this role to practice teamwork, improve her medical skills, and apply her knowledge to a variety of situations. She’s happy to see GEC’s positive effect on her community, and Glorious said that her busy, exciting job in Nyakibale has helped her, too.
Please consider a donation today. Your gift will directly train more ECPs, like Glorious, who save lives everyday!
Being an ECP, to Kizza Hilary, means “being a special person.” Hilary has worked as a dedicated ECP for seven years, and over that time, has seen GEC greatly impact the community around him. Health care has improved, patients are seen more quickly, and more people are able to utilize emergency support, reported Hilary. His expansive medical training and ever-increasing treatment skills have given him the ability to perform many life-saving procedures and contribute to these powerful changes in his community every day.
Please consider a donation today. Your gift will directly train more ECPs, like Hilary, who save lives everyday!
This blog captures the successes and challenges of our volunteers and staff as we collaborate to train emergency care health workers and build equitable emergency care systems in Uganda and beyond.