Update from Africa: Educating and Teaching Ugandan Care Providers
Friday, February 14, 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 second post is from Cabrina Cacioppo, RN, a nurse in our Cardiac ICU.
It is day four of cardiac catheterizations (we can’t believe how fast time is flying) and things are going great! Today we are doing patent ductus arterious (PDA) closures for three patients, a procedure that will change their lives forever. After a PDA closure, a child who may not have been able to run or play for a long period of time without becoming lethargic will now be able to keep up with his or her siblings and friends. They will also no longer be at such a high risk for pulmonary over-circulation and the long-term side effects that it can cause. The first two patients are already back in the recovery unit and the third is getting started in the catheterization lab now.
Education and Teaching
The Ugandan nurses and doctors have become more and more independent with each procedure, which has been amazing to watch. It’s inspiring to watch their knowledge and skills expand right in front of our eyes. Two nurses from Children’s National - Charles Fleming, who works in the catheterization lab, and Lynda Dattilio, who works as an administrative director for the nursing department, have been working with the nurses very closely over the past several years to teach them how to set up for a procedure, how to prepare for emergency situations, and how to perform the different nursing roles required during a case. To see the nurses doing all of this on their own with little assistance has truly been humbling.
Kanishka Ratnayaka, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Children’s National, is doing an incredible job at guiding the Ugandan interventionalists in technique while Nina Deutsch, MD, a cardiac anesthesiologist at Children’s National, is teaching and working side by side with the residents and Ugandan anesthesia team.
The education portion of this mission is very valuable considering it will carry it on when we leave in a week and a half. It’s great to see the impact we can have!
Our superstar patients are doing wonderfully! Their strength and resilience impresses me every day. As soon as the last case is completed, I’ll share more updates on their journey. Otherwise, we hope you are staying safe and warm back in DC with all this snow we’re hearing about. We also hope the rest of our team will be able to fly out over the next few days. Keep your fingers crossed.
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.