Critical Care – SCALE


Strengthening Health Workforce Capacity through Global Learning in Critical Care

The SCALE Project is a collaborative health workforce capacity development initiative between the Ministry of Health, Uganda and the NHS in the UK.

SCALE Critical Care Uganda is a collaborative project supporting the development of critical care in Uganda. It is supported by the Ministry of Health, Uganda, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, the Association of Anaesthesiologists, Uganda, the Uganda UK Health Alliance, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, Health Education England, University of Cambridge and Cambridge Global Health Partnerships.

SCALE – Critical Care has been established to enhance skills and knowledge of Ugandan and UK critical care health providers through peer-to-peer learning and exchange.

Background and Rationale

Access to critical care is a crucial component of healthcare systems. Low- and middle-income countries face a rising burden of critical illness and premature death yet the capacity to provide care for critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs) is critically low.

The outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic has further stretched the existing critical care capacity leaving thousands of severely ill patients with limited access. There is an urgent need for significant investment to develop health system capacity in these countries to address this burden.

Uganda had severe shortage of functional Intensive care units across the country with only 55 ICU beds across the country (1.3 ICU beds per million population) (Atumanya et al, 2020). In the wake of the COVID 19 Pandemic, the health sector has made significant Investments in increasing the number of ICU beds and expanding critical care services to 14 regional referral hospitals.

The country is now faced with a critical need for human resources to deliver critical care especially in newly equipped facilities that have already been faced with overwhelming numbers of COVID 19 patients in need of critical care.

The Project

The Strengthening Workforce Capacity through global Learning in Critical Care (SCALE-Critical Care) is expected to develop human resource capacity to deliver intensive care at facility level as well as drive health system improvement. The program will further create opportunities for virtual learning and global placements to UK professionals and trainees to learn from a clinically rich environment in Uganda.

The overall goal of the programme is to increase critical care capacity through workforce development between Uganda and the UK.

Specific Objectives

  1. To develop distant learning in critical care between training institutions in Uganda and the UK.
  2. To enable Ugandan health workers to benefit from the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme and other training & scholarship pathways in the UK for critical care
  3. To offer global placement opportunities for UK professionals to support critical care training, practice and research in Uganda.

What is a health partnership?

A long-term link between health institutions in high and low/middle-income countries, health partnerships facilitate the flow of ideas and expertise between the different healthcare systems to strengthen services and improve patient outcomes. Health partnerships achieve this through training programmes, sharing and learning, based on the healthcare needs of the overseas partner.

SCALE Critical Care bedside teaching

"It was a really intense week and although it was incredibly hard work I’ve returned feeling really relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to start teaching on the wards again. Having the opportunity to teach in a different environment, observe different people and ways of working was really inspiring. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again."

Gayle Brunskill, CUH Practice Development Nurse Critical Care, reflecting on her recent visit to Kampala to deliver training for nurses.

Interested in getting involved?

We are looking for new volunteers to join the SCALE partnership. 

  • Do you have knowledge and expertise in critical care?
  • Have an interest in global health?
  • Interested in bi-directional sharing and learning with healthcare workers in low- and middle-income settings?
  • Keen to volunteer? Much of our work takes places virtually and international travel may take place.

Head to our becoming a member or becoming a partner pages to see how to get involved.