South Sudan doctors visit Poole
( The visit is completed now - read the doctors reflections here on the South Sudan Medical Journal blog )
Two senior medics from Wau Hospital in South Sudan are on a study visit based at Poole Hospital.
Medical director Dr Majok Malek Ruom, and medical director for outpatients and emergency services, Dr Garang Dakjur Lueth, are spending six weeks finding out about the NHS and the care delivered at Poole Hospital. The visit forms an important part of the work of the Poole Africa Link (PAL), which seeks to support, educate and advise staff at the hospital to improve the healthcare delivered there and the outcomes for their patients. PAL is funded by donations and fundraising.
Around one in 10 children die before the age of five in Southern Sudan, while 70 per cent of pregnant women attending Wau Hospital need emergency caesarean sections. The hospital, which serves an area approximately the size of England, employs just four qualified nurses for the 300-bed hospital and resources are stretched to the limit.
The doctors have been impressed with the technology in use at Poole Hospital, and the importance placed on good communications between clinical staff.
PAL is providing Wau Hospital with vital pieces of equipment – two oxygen concentrators, as the hospital has no oxygen source, and a portable ultrasound machine, to assist in diagnosing patients. These have been made possible through fundraising by PAL supporters, students from Bournemouth University and local churches.
“It’s important to find out how healthcare works here and take that learning back with us,” said Dr Majok.
“Communication between doctors and nurses is very important here, and people work extremely hard. The technology here is very good – in Wau we do not have this and instead do thorough medical examinations from the head to the toe to assist our diagnoses.”
And Dr Garang added: “There are a lot of differences we can see, in particular the good communication between colleagues here.
"Ultrasound is new to us, and we’ve learned here how to diagnose patients using it.
“The portable ultrasound machine we’ll be taking back is going to be extremely helpful. We’ll use it in outpatients and in obstetrics and gynaecology, but as it’s portable we can take it where it’s needed.”
He described the donation of the oxygen concentrator as ‘great news for our hospital and our patients.’
Looking ahead, Dr Majok believes the situation in Southern Sudan, which has seen two bloody civil wars in recent years, will improve.
“We lost many things in the wars,” he said. “There were no facilities, but now it is changing – there are schools and the standard of education is very encouraging, and support from links like PAL make me optimistic for the future.”
The latest team from Poole Hospital is heading to Wau Hospital in April. Catch up with their latest news on their blog at www.poole.nhs.uk
For more information on PAL contact Hilary Fenton-Harris, PAL co-ordinator, by emailing email@example.com
Head of Communications
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust