HDU update - Summer 2019
Three years ago, surgeons and anaesthetists from Mbale Regional Referral Hospital formed a plan to improve the care of post-operative patients in their corner of eastern Uganda. At the time even the sickest emergency patients were cared for on a 50-bed ward, often staffed by one nurse at a time. Quantifying the problem was the first step; a year long audit revealed that 22.4% of patients were dying after emergency abdominal surgery; more than twice rates in the UK. Most of these patients were young and fit but despite this they were dying in the first few post-operative days.
With no access to monitoring, suction and a limited oxygen supply, the overworked medical and nursing teams were simply unable to identify and treat common surgical complications. At the time a well-equipped high dependency unit was a pipe dream. However, now, thanks to the Royal College of Surgeons Christmas Appeal and your very generous donations, this dream has become a reality.
By Christmas 2018 our original target of £16,387 had not only been met but also exceeded. This allowed us to start construction work in January 2019. ahead of schedule. The partition wall was erected, a water tank and additional sinks installed, and power sockets were fitted and linked to the hospital generator. Shipments of specialist equipment arrived from in country and abroad. Oxygen cylinders, regulators, surgical instruments and monitors were carefully unpacked and fitted.
Recently we admitted a 6-month-old baby to the HDU following major surgery. The baby was very unwell with obstructed bowel and a large segment of dead gut had to be removed during an emergency operation. She was admitted to the ward and was able to receive the close monitoring she required. This meant we were able to protect her airway despite her vomiting; we could also administer oxygen and carefully provide the appropriate quantity of intravenous fluids. Thanks to the excellent care she had received, her condition improved considerably and four days later, against the odds, she recovered and was discharged safely to our surgical ward. Undoubtedly the surgical HDU played a crucial role in her survival.
The unit has now been open and accepting patients for five months. We want to thank everyone back in the UK who has donated to this project and helped to turn our dream for high quality surgical care in Eastern Uganda into a reality.
The HDU Grand Opening - 15 March 2019
The 2018 Christmas appeal fully funded the first high dependency unit in eastern Uganda.
'Since our last update all of the specialist equipment has arrived and the final touches made to the building. Our first round of training went smoothly with 35 nurses and intern doctors trained in the basics of high dependency care. With the first few nurses assigned and the shelves stocked with all of the essential drugs and sundries, the unit was soon ready to begin receiving patients. So the only thing left to go was a launch event...
The long awaited opening took place on Friday 15 March and was well attended by local government officials, hospital administration, leading nursing and medical staff and a representative from the ministry of health. The ribbon was cut and everyone flooded in to see the first unit of its kind in the whole of eastern Uganda, needless to say there was plenty of excitement and everyone was extremely thankful to those back in the UK who had donated so generously.
We are starting things slowly to allow time to manage any early difficulties, but the unit will began to take its first patients this week. We're really looking forward to sharing some success stories in the coming months.'
We are delighted to say that thanks to the generous support of our members and donors the final sum raised is £24,209 which far exceeded our original target of £16,387.
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Update - 13 February 2019
We are delighted to say that thanks to the generous support of our members and donors this appeal has to date raised £23,684 which far exceeded our target of £16,387.
An update from Matthew Doe, our surgeon in Uganda; things are progressing very nicely here in Mbale. The work on converting the space on the surgical ward is well underway - the partition wall is up, plumbing and electrics fitted and the water tank installed. Our carpenter is hard at work building furniture and deliveries of specialist equipment from around East Africa are arriving almost every week. The vital patient monitors are being supplied by Medical Aid International and are currently en route from the UK.
The training element of the project is all set to start next week. We are running two introductory one-day courses for nurses and intern doctors initially, then plan to introduce additional training as they gain experience on the unit. Our hope is that the first team of nursing and medical staff will be trained and ready by the end of February, with the unit to launch in early March.
Adam and I are so thankful to everyone for donating so generously to the Christmas appeal, it surpassed our expectations having raised far more than the original target. This has meant that we have been able to purchase additional equipment such as an oxygen backup system and an ECG machine - the latter being a first for Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
18 July 2018 - British 10k RCS team fundraising success!
On Sunday 15th July the 12-strong RCS team made up of fellows, staff and friends joined over 11,500 other runners pounding the scorching hot streets of London for the British 10k 2018. They all successfully completed the run - a fantastic achievement and boost to the College’s surgical research fund that has benefited from their generous commitment.
So far the runners have raised a fantastic £2,383 which has been allocated to research fellow Thomas Layton, a plastic surgical trainee at the University of Oxford. Thomas is researching into Dupuytrens Disease which is a fibrotic disorder of the hand affecting 4% of the UK population. This disease leads to impairment of hand function as the fingers curl irreversibly into the palm, it can interfere with handwriting, preparing food etc. While the cause is unknown, it's related to cells called myofibroblasts. Thomas is trying to define the genes which are specific to these cells.
A huge thank you to all the members of the 2018 RCS team and to their supporters for enabling us to complete the funding of this invaluable research.
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