Africa Outreach: The First Days in Uganda
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Right now, members of our Cardiology team are in Uganda providing treatment to children with heart disease, as well as training and education for Ugandan healthcare workers. The teams, led by Cardiologist Craig Sable, MD, have been helping children abroad for 15 years. Team members will be posting updates from the field on our blog. Our first post is from Cabrina Cacioppo, RN, a nurse in our Cardiac ICU.
Greetings from Uganda
We left Washington, DC, Saturday, at 6 pm with 15 people, 24 boxes, and 30 pieces of luggage, and arrived in Entebbe, Uganda, Sunday at 10:30 pm Ugandan time (it’s 8 hours ahead here). As a crew, we then gathered all of our boxes at the airport and did the official head count before we headed out to our shuttle. From there, we had about an hour ride to Kampala, which is where we are staying and where Mulago Hospital is located. Once we were checked in, we couldn’t get to bed fast enough. We were all asleep by 3 am, and then back at it by 8 am.
Getting to Work
Monday morning we woke up with energy and excitement. Even with little sleep, we were all anxious to get started. After breakfast, we headed off to the hospital as a team. The cardiologists quickly got to work seeing kids in the clinic while the catheterization lab nurses and doctors started to set up for their afternoon cases. The geneticists started to work with patients and their families, and the ICU nurses and intensivists began to set up the intensive care and cath lab recovery units.
Cardiac Catheterization Lab – Ready to Go
The cardiac catheterization lab was up and running by the afternoon and they did two cases! The Ugandan doctors and nurses took the lead, which was awesome, with our team assisting and teaching. Considering our main goal in this project is to build a sustainable and independent cardiac program, it was great to see them performing these skills. Both kids did great and are already on their way to being discharged and returning home. It was a busy day overall, but a great success!
Tuesday, our team and the Ugandan team started bright and early with the hope of performing three cardiac catheterizations, and we did! We’re happy to say these kids are also doing well.
The rest of the week is full of diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations, echocardiograms, exams and counseling with the geneticist and genetic counselor, and tons of educational and teaching sessions with the Ugandan doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and team.
We’ll keep everyone posted as the days go on. Next week is surgery week. Some of the patients are already admitted to the hospital and some we’re seeing in clinic this week. The rest of the surgical team arrives at the end of this week so everyone cross your fingers for good flying weather in Washington, DC.
About the Expert
Craig SableDirector, ECHO Program and Telemedicine
Craig Sable, MD, is director of echocardiography and pediatric cardiology fellowship training and medical director of telemedicine at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine.