Home / Blog / Nurses Bridging Healthcare Gaps in Uganda and Vietnam

Nurses Bridging Healthcare Gaps in Uganda and Vietnam

Earlier this year, Ellen Milan, RNC-NIC, traveled to Kampala, Uganda with HVO’s nursing education project. She has been making this trip nearly every year since 2001. Over the course of her 20 years of volunteering, Ms. Milan saw that most neonatal nurses she encountered in Uganda did not own a stethoscope, or even have access to one. For some of her trips, she purchased a few neonatal and infant stethoscopes to leave with staff she has worked with. This year, as she prepared for her first post-pandemic, in-person assignment, she discovered MDF Instrument’s Crafting Wellness Donation program. The program offers donations of certain types of medical equipment, including stethoscopes, to non-profits and volunteers and has supported work in over 90 countries around the world. Ms. Milan requested 56 stethoscopes so that she could gift one to every nurse in the two neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) at Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital and Kawempe National Referral Hospital.   

“The nurses were delighted, thankful, most grateful, and felt more empowered to better care for their babies,” says Ms. Milan. “Both NICUs are now caring for babies who are being managed with mechanical ventilation. A stethoscope is an essential tool for assessing these babies.” Ms. Milan is grateful to MDF Instruments for their donation. “MDF Instruments’ Crafting Wellness Program is committed to utilizing their resources to do more, to do what is right, and to do what they can to increase wellness in our world. Their core initiative is to equip modern-day, unsung heroes serving on the ground and transforming healthcare for their communities. This certainly describes nurses working in Uganda and other resource-limited countries.” 

We posted about Ms. Milan’s trip and donation on our social media this spring. When Amy Sacco, RN, MS, OCN read about the stethoscope donation, she thought of her own upcoming trip to Vietnam to train oncology nurses at K Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. Ms. Sacco, along with Jodi Hyman, RN, BScN, CON(C) and Annette Galassi, RN, MA, OCN, have been working with Vietnamese partners and Alyssa Grissom, MSN, APN to conduct a two-week training course titled Advancing the Role of the Oncology Nurse. Ms. Grissom, who lives and works on-site in Hanoi, informed the team that the nurses at K Hospital do not often have access to stethoscopes when performing patient assessments. The team secured funding from Astra Zeneca to assist with educational supplies, and they decided to purchase 52 MDF Instruments stethoscopes which they will be bringing them in September. After the workshop is finished, the nurses at K Hospital will keep their stethoscopes.  

We look forward to hearing how the training course goes!