Written by: Heather Hammerstedt MD, Executive Director
This year was a landmark year for Uganda and for our GEC executive team and Ugandan trainers and staff. For a decade, our GEC volunteers and staff in the US and in Uganda have been working diligently and passionately toward the goal of national recognition of the importance of emergency care, national approval of the cadre of the non-physician emergency care provider, and Ugandan university adaptation of the program. Not only did it happen, it happened all in the same year! The faith that our students and staff had in us while we navigated this (very long) process, and their commitment to us while we educated them and trained them and employed them with no guarantee of the timeline, is what kept me going day to day along the way.
Ten years ago in June 2007, we had a dream of emergency care in Uganda. We were lonely, but inspired and persistent. Today after over 13,000 hours of volunteer time per year and almost $2,000,000 of in-kind donations annually, we remain inspired and persistent, but are no longer lonely in our vision. We now are a part of a team of engaged and enthused Ugandan partners spanning the physician community, the nursing community, the national ministry of health’s government medical system, the private medical system, and the university system, all of whom are committed to this same vision. With 17 GEC administrative staff, 17 GEC ECP trainers, 12 GEC researchers active in Uganda now, I’m confident that the non-physician and physician educational programs we are collaborating on with MUST will be successful and the future is brighter than ever. A future that will see Uganda able to provide life saving care, for all.