Global Emergency Care Collaborative

GECC's mission is to improve global health by creating or improving access to quality emergency care in the developing world. GECC works with local partners in resource-poor areas to create quality sustainable emergency care systems in developing nations through development of emergency departments and training of local providers.
May 20, 2014

Reflections: Past and Present

Emergency Department featured on new hospital sign
Emergency Department featured on new hospital sign

I am just returning from a trip to East Africa that included a brief stay at our pilot site at Nyakibale Hospital. Having spent the past eight years working to develop sustainable emergency programs in Africa, I sometimes feel things progress mpora mpora (slowly, slowly in the local language in western Uganda). This trip was unique because it allowed me to reflect on the evolution of our work and put things into perspective for me. Our Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) program is now training its fourth class and the Emergency Department is a well-established part of the hospital (it even made it onto the hospital roadside sign!).

I thought back to how things were on my early trips here and coincidentally, we had several parallel cases with quite different outcomes. On my original trip in 2005 (four years before our training program started), a mother was referred to see the surgeon after losing her term infant. She had lower abdominal pain 6 days after delivery. She had been at the hospital for days without a diagnosis before she was sent to the surgeon for his opinion. She had obvious need for an operation due to an infection she had within her abdomen and pelvis. When the surgeon operated, he found that her entire uterus had been destroyed from an untreated infection that was ultimately due to part of the placenta being left behind after delivery. Despite a prolonged operation, great care after the operation, and powerful antibiotics, this young mother ultimately died.

This week, I watched as Jovita, a qualified ECP, evaluated a patient brought in with a recent miscarriage. The woman had lower abdominal pain for one day. Jovita examined her and immediately realized she had an infection. She performed an ultrasound that confirmed her suspicion – retained products from the pregnancy were slowly becoming infected. Jovita started antibiotics immediately and the patient had the products removed the following morning before the infection damaged her internal organs or spread throughout her system. This young woman left the hospital and was doing well on follow up.

Back in 2006, I remember seeing a patient on the ward who had arrived the night before with an open fracture (i.e. the bone was sticking out) of his lower leg. This injury has a very high risk for infection and the longer one delays washing it out and giving antibiotics, the higher the risk of infection. In the 12 hours he had been at the hospital, he had a dry gauze dressing placed over the wound and was given a dose of Tylenol. He received no emergency care.

On the second night of my recent visit, I walked into the ED to find Hilary, our Education Director and newly qualified ECP, applying a splint. When I asked what happened to the young woman, he said – “open fracture, Doctor. We washed it out under pethidine [strong pain medication], closed the wound, and gave antibiotics. I am just splinting her so she can recover from the ward.” The patient appeared to have adequate pain control as Hilary applied the splint. I looked around and saw that Hilary provided quality care for the patient with other hospital staff without any physician interaction. I’m proud to see the growth of Nyakibale’s ECPs providing life saving care to a very needy population, and to see the significant impacts GECC’s emergency care training program is having on the health outcomes of the local patient population.

Dr. Mark and friends
Dr. Mark and friends
Hilary and Jovita
Hilary and Jovita

Links:

Mar 28, 2014

GECC's New Publications

Good looking kids in window at Nyakibale
Good looking kids in window at Nyakibale

GECC is honored to report that Dr. Heather Hammerstedt and the GECC team have published a paper in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The paper - Addressing WHO Resolution 60.22: A Pilot Project to Create Access to Acute Care Services in Uganda - discusses the collaboration between GECC and local and national stakeholders in Nyakibale, Uganda to implement the Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) program, an innovative emergency care training program. To our knowledge, this is the first description of using task shifting in general hospital-based emergency care through creation of a new nonphysician clinician cadre, the emergency care practitioner. Task shifting is defined as a process of delegation where tasks are moved, when appropriate, to less specialized health workers. By reorganizing the workforce in this way, task shifting presents a viable solution for improving health care coverage by making more efficient use of the human resources already available and by quickly increasing capacity while training and retention programs are expanded. The ECP program provides an example of how emergency care can be practically implemented in low-resource settings in which physician numbers are limited.

In addition, GECC is proud to announce the reinvigoration of our blog that will document days in the lives of the Emergency Care Practioner program in Nyakibale, Uganda. GECC's Program Director, Ryan Brandt, will be the main voice provided content and updates to the new blog. We will also invite board members, physician volunteers, and trained ECPs to guest blog about their experiences in Nyakibale and beyond. The introductory blog post was upload a few days ago. Here is a link to blog: http://globalemergencycare.org/category/news/

Thank you for being part of creating sustainable change and improving the lives of others around the world. As we continue to expand our programming and, in turn, access to emergency medicine in East Africa and Cambodia, we understand that there is significant work ahead. As always, please tell you friends and family about the important work that you are doing through your support of GECC and ask that they get involved as well. Together we continue to change lives.

With gratitude,

Tom Neill, Operations Director, GECC

ECPs Learning Suturing Techniques on a Goat
ECPs Learning Suturing Techniques on a Goat
Board Member - Dr. Sara Nelson Visits Nyakibale
Board Member - Dr. Sara Nelson Visits Nyakibale

Links:

Feb 12, 2014

New ECP training class & continued Kenya expansion

New 2014 ECP Class
New 2014 ECP Class

GECC is excited to announce the inception of our newest Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) training group. Beginning in January, four Ugandans began their training in our two year ‘train the trainer’ Emergency Care Practitioner program. This innovative program is GECC's flagship program that trains midlevel providers in acute care at Nyakibale Hospital in rural southwestern Uganda. With quality care, many patients' lives are saved, including many children who are particularly vulnerable. Saving a patient's life can also save the economic well-being of his family. One ECP will treat at least 40,000 patients over her career, having a beneficial ripple effect on entire communities.

In addition, GECC is thrilled with the progress of our program expansion to Kenya. Partnering with the renowned Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), GECC is in the midst of developing a program to train midlevel providers in emergency care. The need for these midlevel providers is readily apparent, as there is one emergency physician in all of Kenya for over 43 million people. This past week, GECC Board members participated in curriculum planning meetings in Nairobi for the Higher Diploma in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. Although funding dependent, we aim to begin this program in the fall of 2014.

Although we are very excited about our progress, we understand that there is significant work ahead. Thank you for being part of creating sustainable change and improving the lives of others around the world. As we continue to expand our programming and, in turn, access to emergency medicine in East Africa, we would like you to consider supporting these fresh, exciting initiatives. As always, please tell you friends and family about the important work that you are doing through your support of GECC and ask that they get involved as well. Together we continue to change lives.

With gratitude,

Tom

Kenya Medical Training College Curriculum Meeting
Kenya Medical Training College Curriculum Meeting

Links:

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