After a long absence of being “in the field”, I am exciting to report back on a successful two weeks working with GECC in Uganda. During my short visit, I was able to meet with stakeholders in the Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), in preparation for starting a second emergency care training site at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital. I also met with MUST leaders to discuss GECC collaboration with MUST as it hopes to start the first ever emergency physician training program in Uganda this August!
I also had the chance to meet many of the graduates of GECC’s Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) training program and see their skills first-hand. One patient, who had been discharged from the hospital the day previous after falling from an avocado tree, came back due to pain and was quickly diagnosed by Qualified ECP Owen, with a spleen rupture. The patient was taken to surgery and did well. Another child came in with a fever and enlarged spleen and was immediately noted to be profoundly anemic. ECP Richard recognized the severity of the child’s illness and immediately notified Dr. Katungi who personally donated blood for immediate transfusion before labs results were even available (his hemoglobin count was later found to be approximately 2).
Watching the ECPs in action was incredibly gratifying to see as their skills in establishing IVs, suturing, ultrasound, and deftly handling all manner of medical and surgical emergencies, is truly impressive. I was lucky to participate in interviewing what will be the fifth class of ECPs at Nyakibale Hospital as those who have completed the program carry their knowledge and skills forward and will train even more. All with the end result of improved patient care and saving lives!
I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to be in Uganda again, albeit brief, to be able to see first hand, what GECC and its partners are accomplishing. With your continued support, we can continue to be agents of change in improving global health!