Jellybean 110 Emergency Medicine in Uganda

Dr Annet Alenyo Ngabirano (@aalenyo) is from Uganda, the pearl of Africa. That is where she started but the adventure is only beginning.

Annet presented at dasSMACC and has become a huge personality in the the developing community of emergency medicine in the continent of Africa. While we associate Annet with Uganda she is really an Adventurer, on an adventure that goes beyond the borders of any country.

This is a wonderful insight into the curious journey of one special person. It stretches from Mbarara to Berlin, from South Africa to Sydney. There is much to learn and at every step there are surprises.

Annet found out so much about her own system through her normal training (normal for Mbarara) but also through personal tragedies. Her journey has turned her mind to things that she hadn’t thought of, she learned new practical skills and she even learned to ride a bike.

Dr Alenyo Ngabirano is interested in research but she is interested in research that asks the right questions. We all are but I cannot tell you what the right questions are for any sub-specialty and you cannot tell Annet what the right questions are for Ugandan Emergency Medicine.

Uganda is a country in which emergency medicine is only emerging. What exactly do we need to build? What exactly do we have? How do we even find that out?

There seems to be an increased effort by the FOAMed community to spread the useful stuff around, spread the love, spread it beyond the big FOAMed three; USA, Australia and UK. That is not as simple as it sounds. We have to try to avoid all the mistakes that have been made in the past, this is not an opportunity to feel good about ourselves and the good thing we do. What we should do is listen to the people on the ground. Listen to the locals. Do the appropriate research. Support the people that are there and that will stay there. Figure out what we know and what we need to find out. Annet realises that even she needs to know more about the system in Uganda and she knows more about it than you ever could.

CODAchange wants to step into this space. It won’t be easy. There will be many opportunities to mess things up. To start with maybe we just need to talk to our colleagues in other places. It is about relationships. Take an interest. Find out more. Maybe even go and see for yourself but go there to learn stuff rather than going there with some idea that you can tell people what to do. The first chance to do that will be the inaugural Emergency Medicine Uganda Conference 1-3 August 2019.

Annet and I talk a about AFEM, the African Federation for Emergency Medicine ( aka Fedération Africaine de Médicine d’Urgence ) which is a fast growing pan-African organisation that works to ensure the development of collaborative, comprehensive, and cross-cutting emergency care systems in Africa.

Check out their projects. Have look at the AFEM Handbook of Acute and Emergency Care second edition just released. The AFEM first edition had the same look as the legendary Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. (I still have my first copy of that book, feeling a little bit nostalgic just considering that.)

The great Ugandan musician you hear a tiny clip of is Leo N Ssekamanya playing the track Zamufuula (1975). It is an example of “Kadongo Kamu” which translates roughly to “one little guitar”.  (Good luck finding that one!)


Tune in next week.

This is the third in a short series of Jellybeans focussing on young African women at the forefront of emergency medicine in Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda. We recorded these three at SMACC in Sydney. I wish I had recorded more and I will gladly commit myself to the task of trying to record a podcast with emerging emergency physicians and other critical care people from every country in Africa. If you know someone I should speak to then please, get in touch. We are very proud to be sharing these interviews with BadEM and African Journal of Emergency Medicine

The Jellybean Podcast is a funny little thing. We advocate and collaborate. In the coming months there will be a load of new interviews. A very mixed bag of different subjects and different voices from different events and different backgrounds. We kind of need people to subscribe to be able to keep going.

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Look out for a series co-hosted with www.feminem.org and two with www.nowem.org . We have a collection of rising international leaders in emergency medicine from the Pacific, Africa and South America. We are very proud to be sharing #SMACCreach interviews with BadEM and African Journal of Emergency Medicine focused on the rapidly developing emergency medicine discipline in countries across Africa. There are a bunch of interviews with young nurses, doctors and paramedics just getting going in education. (#NewWaveFOAM).

And there are a few surprises too.

Diversity. Variety. Inclusiveness. These podcasts are for the enquiring mind with eclectic interests. I have often said that I would like to interview pretty much everyone that listens to this podcast.

Talk to us, we will listen.


jellybean podcast

Doug Lynch and a sprinkling of Matt Mac Partlin

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