Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mulago Hospital, Kampala

As promised in my last post let me tell you a little more about Mulago hospital and the project Cairdeas is hoping to support. Founded in 1913 initially to treat infectious diseases, including sleeping sickness, it soon grew to an unwieldy level until a new hospital was opened in 1962 and refurbished in 1987 . It is the main referral and teaching hospital for Uganda and hosts the medical school as part of the Faculty of Medicine at Makerere University. There is also a nursing school and institutes of public health, cancer and infectious diseases. Makerere is a prestigious University which grew out of the University of East Africa; becoming independent in 1970. Medical students have been taught palliative care since 1993 with a clinical rotation to Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) The Mulago palliative care team began in 2006 with the appointment of 4 nurses who had been trained at HAU. Here they are hosting a visit from a team from Rwanda. Do you recognise Grace, left front row, who featured in a previous BLOG and is the first nurse in Rwanda to be trained in palliative care? The team have achieved much in a year but are desperately needing more resources and senior medical support. We are looking to form a much more comprehensive service and be able to offer it as a centre of excellence and a 'model' for colleagues in teaching hospitals and universities elsewhere in Africa. It is a big challenge but also a great opportunity.
One of the most successful recent initiatives has been children's palliative care and I want to take you with me to the cancer treatment ward. Caroline Rose, a paediatric palliative care nurse from the UK along with Dr Justin Amery, nurse Charles from Hospice and joined by teachers / play facilitators have worked with the oncology teams to make a difference to the lives of the children and their families. There are murals on the walls, a new classroom, morphine (can you spot the bedside bottle?) and other drugs made available, support for families and helping with the treatment costs of children with Burkitt's lymphoma via an Irish fund. The day I visited we were able to give out hand-knitted teddies sent from the UK. I wish you could have seen the excitement and joy such a simple gift engendered. Here is Irene (see left) who recently featured in a story in the weekly Guardian, proudly clutching her red teddy. She has been receiving treatment for much of the past year. Her family don't live in Kampala and cannot afford the expenses her illness has brought. The Hospice team have been able to not only support her treatment, but also to make sure she has pain control, a mattress to sleep on, food to eat, and the chance to keep up with her schooling. David (see right) has also had help with medication and treatment. Despite his illness and the need for strong morphine painkillers, you can see his delight and joy in this picture with Caroline. Quality of life shown in a smile. Adding life to days not days to life..........


Anonymous said...

It is great to see how individuals such as Irene benefit from pain control with oral morphine at Hospice Africa Uganda.

Simon Mbarushimana said...

Thank you Dr Leng for the work you are doing.

God bless you.

I know with:

1. Our contries having a rididulously high Dr to patient ratio;

2. Our people having to choose between seeking care and providing food for their children and thus presenting too late,

3. Our people living in total poverty;

It is very easy to cast all our resources on providing for the living and forget the pain and plights of the dying.

Thank you therefore for opening our eyes to the Palliative care.

I have an example which so vividly shows how our people die with pain...! It is very disturbing.

Please do let me know - - when you go back to Uganda or Rwanda as I believe a chat would benefit both Cairdes and RSVP.

Every blessing.

Simon Mbarushimana

Anonymous said...

Sorry my link didn't work. Hopefully fixed now.

Bill Grech said...

Hi Mhoira,

Great to read about your latest exploits and to see pictures of friends and colleagues from my previous trips to India.

Keep up the good work!

bathlomew said...

Hi Dr Mhoira..
i congratulate you for the great work .Keep it up and God will reward you.
May God Bless you.