Bearing Witness: UNC Children’s Physicians Making a Global Impact

UNC Medicine's Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald works in Malawi to not only help the sick, but to work towards building a medical system in the impoverished nation.

For the past six years, pediatric emergency medicine specialist Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald has traveled regularly to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Malawi. She is part of a team UNC Medicine established more than a decade ago to help the impoverished nation build its own medical infrastructure and care for its people. 

In addition to providing direct medical care to children, Dr. Fitzgerald spends much of her time at KCH helping the clinicians there acquire the basic skills and tools that one would take for granted at UNC.  

For example, UNC Children’s physicians have trained more than 70 Malawian clinicians in “ETAT” - emergency, triage, assessment and treatment.  The program helps emergency medical staff identify the sickest children in an overwhelmed emergency department waiting room and get them medical care quickly.  

Dr. Fitzgerald’s passion is helping KCH improve the quality of the care it provides.  To do that, the hospital needs the most basic of tools - a database. After all, you can’t improve your work if you don’t know what you did. 

The team there has started tracking some of the youngest patients throughout their stay.  In time, they hope to expand the database to all patients.  Dr. Fitzgerald describes this work - and what motivates her to do it - in this video. 


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