Medical Jellybeans with @TheTopEnd

Jellybeans. Conversations with Care. The Jellybeans started here and are now also hosted on (The Original) & This is the complete collection. Sometimes containing more controversial offerings.

Jellybean 110 Emergency Medicine in Uganda


Dr Annet Alenyo Ngabirano 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 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. The first chance to do that will be the inaugural Emergency Medicine Uganda Conference 1-3 August 2019.

Annet and I also 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.

Let’s not pretend though, Kenya is an amazing destination, you will finish the conference and find your self in Kenya. Seriously, Kenya! November 2020 is only 18 months away, put your leave request in now and ask for a month if you possibly can! The next AfCEM will be 2022.

Tune in next Time.

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. 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.
iTunes JellyBean Podcast link
Stitcher JellyBean Podcast link
Look out for a series co-hosted with and two with . 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.
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!)



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This entry was posted on May 2, 2019 by in Africa, badEM, Research and tagged , .


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