After finishing his freshman year at UCLA, David Joseph set out on a volunteer trip to Pader, northern Uganda. It was here that he watched a young clinician named Oyoo Benson stitch a patient’s wound by candlelight. In this moment David promised to never lay idle again, and to fully devote his life to erasing these kinds of conditions.
He soon teamed up with Benson, and together with four additional Ugandan clinicians they founded the Northern Uganda Medical Mission (NUMEM) – a community based organization focuses on providing access to quality healthcare in northern Uganda. Young and ambitious, the team was committed to establishing the first hospital in the district of 240,000 people and putting an end to preventable deaths. Two years later they have an established a top-performing, fully self-sustainable non-profit health center in the district, a women’s engagement group, and the region’s first centralized emergency response system.
While at UCLA, David spoke at TedxYouth@SanDiego and the Worldlink Youth Conference in San Diego about his work in Pader, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative University. He also founded and was president of the UCLA chapter of the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign. He graduated with a degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics in the summer of 2015. After graduating, David hopes to pursue a career in medicine and infectious diseases to better equip him to defeat health inequities in Pader and around the world.
Project: Rural Emergency Communication System (REMCS)
There is no emergency health system or sustainable communication in Pader, northern Uganda, rendering isolated communities helpless when it comes to emergency health issues. The Rural Emergency Communication System is a cellular-based, solar powered call box system that will be implemented in conjunction with the Northern Uganda Medical Mission Clinic (NUMEM). This system will act as both a 24/7 emergency hotline and regular source of medical information for rural community members. The system will initially be installed in the sub-districts immediately surrounding Pader, and the call boxes will be entirely free for the community members to use. For one hour a day community members will be able to use the boxes to ask any health-related questions to a NUMEM clinician or nurse - who will be the designated point person for answering questions during that designated time. For the other 23 hours of the day, the box will serve as a direct emergency line to the clinic, from which community members can seek advice and can summon the NUMEM emergency transport vehicle for immediate medical attention.