International Women’s Day: #EmbraceEquity in the Healthcare Workforce

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Meet Dr. Doreen Alaleit, President of the Emergency Care Society of Uganda.

Doreen is a mother of four and an emergency medicine leader in Uganda. She is a pioneer graduate of the masters in emergency medicine program at Makerere University, which is supported in training and mentorship by Seed Global Health. Since entering the program in 2018, she has helped to establish the first ever organized ambulance service in Uganda.

Doreen grew up in Uganda in a family of four children. Her father is a doctor and mother is a nurse. In her own words, she was brought up in a humble way. Although she never lacked, she learned at a young age that privilege comes with hard work and discipline. She knew she was destined for more and worked hard to attain the life she dreamed of – to be both a loving and dedicated mother and a committed and respected physician. And even now despite all of her qualifications, she is often still judged firstly by her gender. But her mantra is to always let her expertise shine through. 

Doreen had her first child young, while she was doing her undergraduate degree – and now has four boys aged 10, 9, 6, and 8 months. She juggles family life and her full capacity profession with a strong support system – including her husband – which allows her to prioritize both being a mother and having a prominent career in emergency medicine.

The emergency medicine profession in Uganda is very new and the challenges are stark with very few emergency physicians. For example, fewer than nine percent of emergency ward staff have received specific training on management of a medical emergency, fewer than 27 percent of all medical facilities have permanent staff in their emergency units, and less than 25 percent of Level IV Health Centers offer 24-hour emergency care. Further, accredited programs to train physicians in emergency care at a graduate level are few and far between on the continent.

In the last decade, Seed Global Health has helped to build out this specialty by graduating the first ever Ugandan emergency medicine physicians. Seed works hand-in-hand with its partners to develop national emergency medical services policies, guidelines, and standards; to offer sustained emergency care training and mentorship, embedding physician and nurse educators at regional hospitals and academic institutions; and to streamline national emergency care referral processes, including establishing call and dispatch centers. Our team has extended its impact and reach by rolling out an emergency medicine curriculum through a remote learning platform, enabling us to reach over 4,000 health workers, including those serving much more rural communities.

Lack of affordable and reliable ambulance services and lack of robust referral systems also complicate the ability to serve communities with the emergency services they need. While training with Seed, Doreen was asked to help design and launch the first ever ambulance service for Kampala, the capital city of Uganda of over three million people – including setting up a call and despatch center, setting policy and training for ambulance drivers and creating a new toll-free number for the public to call to get an ambulance. The effects of this service and Doreen’s dedication is already being felt throughout the Kampala and Seed is honored to be a part of Doreen’s story.

Seed Global Health is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual, global moment dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women.


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