Two medical students are heading to Eswatini (previously known as Swaziland) in southern Africa in July and will take with them equipment that has been donated by the James Paget University Hospital to support their work.
Fourth year University of East Anglia medical students Zoë Matthews and Aaron Carlisle have lined up their medical elective placements in the African country after deciding that they wanted to travel and to do something different. They secured the placement after Aaron emailed several hospitals on the continent and the Good Shepherd Hospital (GSH) in Eswatini quickly responded.
Eswatini has no medical schools, so all doctors are trained abroad, but there is a College of Nursing at GSH. The college trains local people so they can gain their nursing qualifications and have good clinical skills – something that is particularly important as the hospital, and the country, has few doctors – an estimated one doctor per 30,000 people – and nurses are key to running services, particularly rural clinics, which are nurse-led.
The hospital regularly accepts up to six international medical students at a time and when Aaron and Zoë asked what they might be able to bring with them to assist they were told that any manikins or demonstration models for airways or other techniques would be useful, as they would also be welcome to help with teaching the nurses too.
Aaron and Zoë are currently on placements at the James Paget – Aaron in Paediatrics and Zoë in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department – and they asked our education team for some advice about where this type of equipment could be purchased.
The resuscitation team realised they had the perfect answer as our airways management training equipment had just been replaced, with the older kit destined for disposal. Now the airway head and airway adjuncts, along with other items, will go to a new home, with Zoë and Aaron being trained on the equipment before they leave so they can demonstrate how to use it correctly. They will then leave it with the college to help train more students.
Zoë, who has a medical research and training background at PhD level before starting her medical training, said; “We both wanted to see something completely different to the NHS and we wanted to travel so combining these for our medical elective seemed to make sense. We're so grateful for all the support we're receiving, particularly from the Resuscitation Service at the James Paget. We just asked for some advice and they've really generously donated exactly the kind of equipment that will make such a difference to the team we'll be working with at Good Shepherd.”
Zoë and Aaron are also carrying out other fundraising, including cake sales and coffee mornings, to raise money for more equipment. If you would like to support their efforts please visit; https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/good-shepherd-elective-resources
Our photograph shows Zoë (left) and Aaron (right) being presented with the equipment by Andrew Rodrigues from our Resuscitation Service.