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The Uganda Heart-Research Foundation develops treatment guidelines for common CVD conditions in Uganda

Between December 2019 and February 2020, the Uganda Heart-Research Foundation (UHRF) launched the development of the first standardized treatment guidelines for the common cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Uganda.

The activity was organized by the UHRF in collaboration with cardiologists from the leading medical schools and university teaching institutions in the country, Kiruddu National Referral Hospital, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Mother Kevin Post Graduate Medical School of the Uganda Martyrs’ University, Nsambya Hospital, Uganda Heart Institute, Mulago Hospital, and Habib Medical School of the Islamic University in Uganda. UHRF’s project has been funded through the World Heart Grant Programme.

Objective 
The main objective of the workshop was to finalize the writing of Harmonized Guideline/Treatment flow charts for Common Cardiovascular Conditions in Referral and University teaching hospitals in Uganda.

Prior to the workshop, a committee of five members developed the draft document through extensive literature research and review of hospital records over the past 5 years. This enabled the characterization of the most common CVD conditions and benchmark of international guidelines for the management of these conditions. The committee then compiled the document taking into account what is feasible in Ugandan institutions. Finally, the draft document was shared with the rest of the writing group members for review.

Workshop day
The workshop was officially opened by the executive director of Kiruddu National Referral Hospital (KNRF), which is one of the teaching hospitals for Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MaKCHS). The president of the UHRF, Professor Charles Kiiza Mondo, who is also the chief of cardiology at KNRF, coordinated the event. Participants were carefully selected to represent the leading teaching hospitals – the very faculty involved in teaching cardiology and thus who will enforce the use of the guidelines. KNRF was fronted as the lead hospital because it is the teaching hospital for MaKCHS – the oldest and leading medical school in Uganda responsible for the majority of medical graduates in the country. Seventeen members attended and deliberated extensively on each condition, making appropriate amendments to the draft document. Each participant had been assigned one or two conditions which he/she lead the discussion. This ensured full involvement of members and thus collective ownership. The core writing team took notes and incorporated the suggestions of the workshop participants and then complied the final document.

Output
The first national guidelines for common CVD conditions in Uganda was developed, printed and circulated to the University teaching hospitals. The tool is currently being piloted and will undergo a review after 2 years following feedback from the users. The document is structured as an SOP, and is very useful for the front line clinicians (Medical Interns, Medical Officers, and Senior House Officers) with no specialized training in cardiology yet they treat the majority of these patients.