Denver College of Nursing Students Provide Care to Ugandan Children, Regional Refugees
Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:04 PM
Four Denver College of Nursing (DCN) students and two faculty members assisted Ugandan nurses and provided clinical care to patients in the Yumbe district, across from the South Sudan border, said Dr. Marcia Bankirer, president of DCN.
Accompanied by DCN faculty members, Micah Hughes, assistant professor and director of DCN’s Global Health Perspectives (GHP) program, and Connie Dunbar, DCN adjunct clinical faculty, students Jay Ferrell, Jane Jung, Claribel Najera-Torres and Rebecca Wynkoop assisted in the pediatrics, labor and delivery wards of Yumbe Hospital.
“The DCN team worked in an important part of the Yumbe Hospital, the Therapeutic Feeding Center (TFC),” Hughes explained. “The TFC is an emergency malnutrition ward to children who are admitted from throughout the Yumbe district and the South Sudan. The West Nile region of Uganda is in one of the most severe droughts in the past 50 years. As a result, malnutrition and the impact of other infectious diseases are at the worst levels I’ve seen in the 12 years I’ve been providing patient care in this region.”
UNICEF reports that Uganda has stretched its capacity to assist both its own communities and approximately 130,000 new South Sudanese refugees in the remote West Nile sub-region, including women, child survivors of sexual violence, and separated and unaccompanied children in urgent need of protection. Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates of nearly 20 percent can be found among the South Sudanese refugees. UNICEF and partners are planning a response to needs for an additional 80,000 refugees in 2015. (http://www.unicef.org/appeals/uganda.html)
DCN’s Hughes developed a partnership between The Mango Project, a sustainable nonprofit, and Yumbe Hospital to provide preserved mangos for the pediatric and TFC wards and for breast-feeding mothers and hospitalized children. “It was impressive to see the Denver College of Nursing students adapt to this challenging environment and collaborate in community healthcare with the local Ugandan Mango Project leaders,” Hughes stated.
The Mango Project (www.themangoproject.com) first worked in the region in 2003. It was co-founded by Hughes, who serves as its executive director. The Mango Project trains locals to preserve mangos for distribution to local communities during the 10 months out of the year when mangos and other fruit are not available. Since 2012, over 300 hybrid mango trees have been grafted and planted into The Mango Project orchard near Rodo, Uganda.