A 28-member team of health care professionals from Duke University Medical Center is carrying nine tons of surplus medical equipment and donated supplies to the 1500-bed New Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Mulago Hospital staff will be trained to use and maintain the new equipment then surgeons from both countries will join in conducting a number of brain and spinal surgeries.

The project is administered by Duke’s Global Health Institute.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 1 and 2

Michael Haglund writes:

Things are going great so far. I have a tired but outstanding team from Duke who have worked very hard to make this all happen. I am truly blessed by each ones great effort in their sacrifice and giving. Saturday less than 10 hours after arriving we had a reception and ceremony in our honor where the official donation was handed over to the Minister of Health and the representative from the Presdient. Dr. Mallinga said he was suprised to see me back, since so many American doctors want to meet with him but never return. He said he was very suprised I continued to write him, but when he saw the email when we were (only) at $500,000 dollars worth of equipment he thought it might happen. He said he was overwhelmed and overjoyed by what we had accomplished and congratulated Duke University on their efforts.

Dr. Mallinga had a great quote, he said this was Mulago Hospital's D-Day. He said when the Americans landed on D-Day and a Frenchman ran to them knowing nothing would ever be the same, he feels the Americans that had landed in Uganda the night before would change things so nothing would be the same at their National Hospital. He also pledged support for whatever we need during the after-ceremony press conference. We unpacked all 9 tons of the equipment in one afternoon, with not ONE piece of equipment damaged, except for the crate nail into the side of a piece of plastic on one of the monitors which was otherwise very functional. When was the last time you sent 27 people from RDU to Detroit to Amsterdam to Entebbe, Uganda without one piece of lost luggage and without any damage to 9 tons of equipment. MVP for the day, Mr. Robbie Diggs who we worked to the bone for the whole unpacking procedure, super strong work by our clinical engineer.

We screened over 100 patients and narrowed that to 69 possible operations. Late Saturday and into the wee hours of Sunday morning myself, and Drs Zomorodi/Parker, and Senthil R. our PA made a tentative list with the help of our anesthesia colleagues, Drs. MacLeod and Schroeder. Senthil then proceeded to win the MVP award of day two by staying up to 4am typing the tentative list. We now have 45 cases scheduled for the week. Some are too sick to operate on and we have already seen one child who has waited weeks for us to arrive, deteriorate so it is no longer safe to do their operation. IF we had only been here a week earlier. It is hard making life and death decisions, but with the Lord's help and guidance and a chance to pray over those we could not help, we are making it through that difficult part of the process, still it hurts pretty bad to basically condemn someone to die without a chance.

Today, we visited Pastor Jackson Senyonga's church and their orphanage, many in the group were deeply touched by the orphans and the system of building homes for them and assigning a widow to be their house mother. They sang us a wonderful song also. Wow, were they precious. Also, it was very powerful to see our whole team on the platform at church with 5,000 Africans praying over them for over ten minutes for our success, health, and spiritual empowerment during the week. You can't help but feel uplifted by that dramatic moment.

Anyway, we actually move to the next phase: performing operations, and we have ten cases on the list including four craniotomies, a cervical fusion, several shunts, and a Chiari malformation. Mike and Michelle have been wonderful and very hard working capturing all the wonderful moments thus far and I can't wait to see the movie :o)