OUTREACH TO AFRICA
UGANDA MEDICAL MISSION
Emirates Airline Foundation
Outreach To Africa – Paul Devlin Academy
OTA Medical Center, Fort Portal – Uganda
OTA Medical Center, Rwebisengo – Uganda
Tooro Babies Home, Fort Portal – Uganda
Brian Kim, MD (Pediatrician, UCLA – CA, USA)
Megha Shah, MD (Pediatrician, UCLA – CA, USA)
Christopher Chyu, MD (Pediatrician, UCLA – CA, USA)
Melissa Reilly, RN (Nurse, Downey Medical Center – CA, USA)
Vicky Williams, RN (Nurse, Paradise Valley – AZ, USA)
We thank you for your generous support in providing us with the opportunity to deliver medical care to children in Uganda through the non-profit organization, Outreach to Africa (OTA). From May to June 2012, we traveled with OTA to Western Uganda to provide health services for children in the region. During the visit we traveled to multiple sites, including the Paul Devlin Academy in Fort Portal, the OTA medical clinics in Fort Portal and Rwebisengo, and an orphanage in Fort Portal called the Tooro Babies Home.
*Melissa, Megha, Brian & Chris
Our medical team consisted of three pediatric resident physicians from UCLA, and two intensive care nurses. Our goals were to provide basic health screening and treatment for the children at the Paul Devlin Academy and the Tooro Babies Home, in addition to treating patients at the OTA medical clinics in Fort Portal and Rwebisengo for more urgent health concerns.
PAUL DEVLIN ACADEMY
We started with Paul Devlin Academy which functions as a nursery, primary school and orphanage. One hundred of the 270 children were new enrollees. The children were between the ages of 4 years and 15 years. However for some, it was the first time they had ever been seen by a physician. We screened all new students for HIV, provided testing for malaria and treated numerous skin and scalp infections.
TOORO BABIES HOME
We visited another orphanage in Fort Portal called the Tooro Babies Home, which approximately 45 children between the ages of 2 months to 12 years call home. We evaluated children who were identified by the caretakers as having specific medical needs or concerns. This included a subgroup of children who were significantly disabled.
OTA MEDICAL CENTER – RWEBISENGO
At the OTA clinics in Fort Portal and Rwebisengo, we saw a number of pediatric patients presenting with more urgent health concerns. We spent a significant amount of time in Rwebisengo, a small town in Western Uganda near the Semliki River bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the rainy season, the surrounding marshes act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, resulting in high rates of malarial infection. Access to health services in the region is limited, and many of the children were being evaluated by a physician for the first time. Announcements of our arrival were made to the surrounding area prior to our visit, with the aim of maximizing our impact. In fact, health care access in the region is so limited that many adults came seeking medical attention, despite knowing that our team had come to specifically evaluate children.
During our trip, numerous children with a wide variety of conditions were treated. We have made a lasting impact on these patients. We are grateful for the support provided by Outreach to Africa and the Emirates Airline Foundation, and hope these organizations can see just how important their support is in providing a positive effect for the children in this region.
I am always very thankful for the airline tickets donated to our medical professionals, who periodically travel to Uganda. This has made a huge change in our medical care
Outreach to Africa
UGANDA MEDICAL MISSION
EMIRATES AIRLINE FOUNDATION / OUTREACH TO AFRICA
CURTIS WITCHER, MD. – KAISER HOSPITAL
I would like to thank Emirates Airline Foundation for helping facilitate my recent journey to Uganda to work with the great people at Outreach To Africa. I worked in both the Fort Portal and Rwebisengo clinics during my three week medical mission. The experience was a once in a lifetime event for me. I truly am grateful.
I brought two large bags full of syringes, medications, bandages, sutures, battery operated blood pressure machines, blood sugar monitors, pregnancy tests, vitamins, bulb suctions, gauze and many other needed supplies. These were all donated by local Southern California organizations.
During my time in the clinics I saw 120 patients who had conditions ranging from tuberculosis to broken bones to complications of pregnancy.
The most interesting experience occurred on my second day in the rural village clinic in Rwebisengo. I arrived in the morning to find the midwife working on delivering a set of twins. She had things under control and my attention was needed in the clinic so I left to start seeing patients. About thirty minutes later Twin #1 was born. I went to see the baby and the mom, and I was told that the second twin was breech (instead of head first it was buttocks first coming thru the birth canal). This is a dangerous situation, that would necessitate cesarean section delivery in the United States.
At first I thought I was going to have to perform a surgical intervention that was going to be very risky, as it was impossible to get the mom to the nearest hospital in time. The midwife was confident that giving her some medication to help increase the contractions of the uterus would work to deliver the baby without any problems. I went back to seeing clinic patients and about two hours later was called to the delivery room again. Twin #2 was being delivered breech. When the baby came out it was blue, not breathing and had no pulse. The midwife told the mom that it was dead. I understood that these things happen in places outside of the United States but it was difficult to see.
My first instinct was to try to intervene on behalf of the baby, but I was hesitant as I did not want to culturally insult anyone. I asked if I could try to resuscitate the baby, and the midwife said it was ok. After twenty minutes of CPR, including chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, the baby was brought back to life. It truly was a miracle.
This one event alone represented what is truly amazing about medicine. The fact that Emirates and OTA were able to help bring me to that place, at that moment was a blessing for so many people. That child may grow up to be the first female president of Uganda – anything is possible now.
Dr. Curtis Witcher
Dr Shawn Corcoran helped set up Outreach to Africa’s Fort Portal Clinic in 2007
“Like many medical students who travel abroad for fourth year clerkships, I went to Uganda with an impetuous enthusiasm for service, intent on helping the impoverished and sick and learning something about medicine in sub-Saharan Africa along the way. I returned with a more practical sense of what it means to serve in the setting of extreme poverty and intractable disease, profoundly humbled by the calm perseverance of the people who were my patients, and with a lasting admiration for the health care workers who serve them every day.
It was the culmination of a long and challenging month, one that began with personal doubt and ended with collective triumph. I was proud, not of myself this time, but of those who had worked with me to make the clinic a reality.
Like most meaningful experiences in life, it was the people of Uganda that made my visit there so enriching. Evie, Gerald, and Morris, whose tireless efforts make their world better on a daily basis, helped me to reach beyond my perceived limits in working with them and others to open the Fort Portal clinic.”
Dr. Shawn Corcoran