John Bosco Kamugisha is the Programme Coordinator for Global Emergency Care (GEC) in Uganda. Currently, GEC collaborates with Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in south-western Uganda to train Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) in Uganda. His role involves coordinating trainers and all the activities for the training program as well as providing curriculum oversight for the course.
JB, as colleagues popularly know him, was first introduced to emergency care when he met the president of GEC back in 2006 - 2007 while working at Nyakibale Hospital in Rukungiru district. “At that time, there was no emergency care in the hospital. It is so unfortunate that people would die because there was no one to offer the specialized care needed for emergencies,” he recollects.
The fruit of the ECP’s JB has trained over the years was highlighted at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. Especially in the Masaka region, a hotspot in Uganda. Some ECPs were deployed as frontline workers at the Uganda-Tanzania border to man the Covid-19 testing center, while others were deployed at the Covid-19 unit in Masaka Hospital. “Covid-19 was pretty engaging for us. With the skills acquired in emergency care, I remember working on a family that included a mother, father, and child who had contracted Covid-19. We provided the best kind of care they needed. All the affected members survived, and they are alive, happy, and living productive lives,” JB says.
Looking into the future, JB is very hopeful. He says, “We have seen considerable progress from where we started to where we are now. We want to scale up our training to support everyone involved in emergency care.”
GEC has made significant strides since 2017, starting with diplomas to now having EM accredited at higher levels of training. This is a significant achievement in providing lifesaving care for vulnerable communities in Uganda, but a lot more work still needs to be done.