September 29, 2021

Covid, Italy trains in Africa to help doctors manage the sick


Italy, the first Western country to be hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, reaches out to Africa to share experience in patient management and give hope to a fragile population in a difficult context: for a couple of months the Sacco hospital has been online every two weeks with the Lacor Hospital in Gulu, in northern Uganda, to give useful information, advice and advice to African colleagues. The goal is to try to contain the pandemic on a continent already tried by serious health emergencies such as the Ebola epidemic.

Reference hospital

Lacor Hospital is also a bit Italian: founded 60 years ago by the pediatrician Piero Corti and the Canadian surgeon Lucille Teasdale, is still supported by the Corti Foundation and with its 250 thousand patients welcomed every year it is a health point of reference in an area tormented by the civil war until a few years ago, now struggling with the planetary emergency. Lacor is the only hospital in the area to have an oxygen production and distribution system at the patient’s bed, made a couple of years ago; today it is a resource, but there are many obstacles to be faced and so the direct line with Italy and the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Sacco hospital is precious for the exchange of good advice. Everything is different, just think that in Africa there are 0.2 doctors for every hundred thousand people compared to 400 in Italy, an intensive care bed for every million inhabitants against the 80 available in our country: even a simple intervention such as the use of vitamin C, not so relevant in the West, can make a difference in a country where the population is often immunosuppressed because the prevalence of HIV is still high.


Exchange of experiences

«Among the topics addressed, for example, are the opportunity to pronate patients, the management of coagulation drugs and antibiotics, non-invasive ventilation, air hunger and everything we have learned about in these months of pandemic – he says Beatrice Borghi, anesthesiologist of Sacco involved in videoconferences with Lacor together with Giuliano Rizzardini, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Milanese hospital -. The desire is to share good practices that can save the lives of as many patients as possible ». A road that in Uganda can be even more uphill given the difficulties present, which can be guessed by listening Erick Odwar, head of Lacor Hospital’s Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care: «Before Covid we had an intensive care with eight beds that served the entire northern region of Uganda, with a specialist in anesthesia and resuscitation. During the pandemic we have maintained elective and emergency operations, albeit in small numbers, and we have opened a Covid intensive care with dedicated staff; however, we have reduced staff, inadequate protective equipment and few oxygen delivery tools such as nasal tips, face masks and CPAP; difficult to effectively assist and resuscitate patients“. This is why sharing experiences with the Sacco hospital is even more valuable.

February 26, 2021 (change February 26, 2021 | 12:55)

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