We apologise for the tardiness of this blog. Life is so busy at the moment that we can barely keep ahead of things out here. However, allow us to take up the threads of the previous blog and move forward.
You will all recall a dark Tuesday and a much lighter Wednesday. Things continued to improve. The juniors of the Department of Medicine, of their own volition, organised a teaching session which was well attended by all. There are some things that even the tentacles of apathy cannot strangle.
Following on from the successful Wednesday meeting, Dr Wani Mena (the hospital CEO) went on to organise a two day workshop for all the consultants, which took place last Friday and Saturday.
It was the greatest gathering of consultants that Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH) had witnessed. Twenty five doctors from all Specialties (Medicine, Chest Medicine, Surgery, Obs and Gynae, Paediatrics, ENT, Dermatology, HIV, Maxillofacial and Dentistry) were present. A steely resolve was present in all of their eyes. They wore determined expressions on their faces. The time had come.
We discussed many things in the meeting, such as challenges with leadership, the importance of role models, rules, roles responsibilities, discipline and the lack of postgraduate training. We looked at case studies in JTH of good medical practice, notably in the Department of Surgery. We examined ways in which discipline could be enforced in a land where they Ministry of Health controlled the supply and salary of doctors and would not always listen to the recommendation of JTH consultants. We spoke about the junior doctor contracts which contain no annual leave, study leave or even a study budget. We talked about other forms of motivation such as prizes and incentives. We developed timetables for all our departments.
As the hours passed by, nail after nail was hammered home into the coffin of apathy. These were not the ideas of myself or Clare. They were uttered from the lips of the country’s greatest experts – the consultants of JTH! On top of apathy’s coffin was written the Consultant’s epitaph, their new mission statement for JTH:
“Our mission is to provide healthcare of the highest quality, train health personnel for this country, conduct research and generate new knowledge, and strive for continued improvement.”
The meeting has ignited many changes in JTH. There is an undercurrent of optimism that is smouldering within everyone’s hearts. My boss, Dr Elijah, headed up our first Departmental Meeting for Medicine in the history of JTH on Monday (we added it in to our departmental timetable), where we finalised the rules, roles, and responsibilities for the doctors of our department.
Today the medical department held a meeting with the juniors where these rules, roles, and responsibilities where discussed. We also promised them that we would be their advocates and would work hard to overcome any problems that they faced.
This Saturday the Minister of Health will be conducting an audience with JTH doctors to hear about these problems. Next week, we roll out a new teaching schedule and start postgraduate medicine in our department. Over the coming weeks, most of the other departments will be trained. The future is looking bright.
However, apathy is a sinister beast. Let us see what curve balls it throws us……