Annet Alenyo Ngabirano.
(That's Annet on the right in the photo with Kat Evans on the left and Mulinda Nyirenda in the middle.)
Emergency Medicine in the Uganda, the pearl of Africa.
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 FOAM / 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 going there with some idea that you can tell people what to do.
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 their Handbook, available from Oxford University Press and everywhere. The second edition is out recently. The 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.)
Their next conference, the African Conference on Emergency Medicine (AfCEM) is in Mombasa, Kenya in November 2020. Why not go there? Why not show these guys respect and contribute to the growth of their conference and federation simply by attending as a delegate? Why not go one step further and Support a Delegate at the same time? The Support a Delegate appeal at dasSMACC was very successful. But it was not a one off. There are still conferences, there are still under-funded delegates. Please do not forget this practical and ultra-tangible way of lending a helping hand.