Two teams of staff from Poole Hospital travelled to Lira, Uganda’s second-biggest city, for teaching visits this October. The teams worked with the local university and referral hospital to train student nurses and midwives in valuable practical skills.
The visits are part of the Poole Africa Link, which first established a teaching relationship with a hospital in Wau, South Sudan in 2009, but relocated to Lira University in Northern Uganda in 2014. Teams have been welcomed back to Lira every year since.
The hospital in Lira is very different from what many of the staff from Poole were used to. Hilary Fenton-Harris, the Co-ordinator for the Poole Africa Link, said: “They have a beautiful university hospital but they’ve got virtually no kit in it. You have to have very good clinical skills when you can’t run all the tests we use in Poole.”
The visits are only used for teaching as the Poole staff aren’t registered to practice in Uganda, but the students are grateful for the expertise, with one student telling them “you all teach with love” and giving the staff a vote of thanks.
We get back to Poole and the NHS and are so grateful for all the equipment we have available to us.
Emma Pickard, an Operating Department Practitioner at Poole Hospital, said of the trip “It was amazing! It made me realise how lucky we are here and how resilient and intelligent everyone is in Uganda.”
Sarah Currell, a children’s dietician at Poole Hospital said “It’s very challenging because so many of the resources and treatments we use here just aren’t available over there. We get back to Poole and the NHS and are so grateful for all the equipment we have available to us… I would really encourage other dieticians to go over there if they can.”
The staff funded the travel costs themselves and often raise money to buy valuable equipment to take over with them. Sarah Currell is raising money to buy a new set of baby weighing scales for the feeding centre, after finding that the scales they were using were inaccurate. Other staff have raised money for oxygen concentrators and a universal anaesthetic machine.