Sunday 15th April. Juba
After leaving on Friday 13th and travelling nearly a full day – we were lucky not to hit any icebergs on the way – we arrived in Juba.
Our hotel in Juba sits on the White Nile river bank which looks very appealing in 40 degree heat. However, we are under strict instructions from our leader back home, that this is not a holiday and we must not get sick. So instead we are enjoying a cool beer watching the locals swimming. We are lucky enough to have Air con, but must not get used to it as there will be none in Wau.
Today we came across 2 familiar faces, Dr Majok and Dr Garang who have been stuck in Juba due to the recent runway incident in Wau. We are flying tomorrow to Awei and then by road to Wau. A fantastic way of seeing more of the country with Drs Majok and Garang to protect us!
We thought in this blog that we would take the opportunity to introduce the team members as well as updating you all on our South Sudan work. As team leader, Frankie “Duracell” Dorman should be first. Frankie has earned this accolade due to her never ending enthusiasm and energy. Yesterday after being awake for 21 of the previous 24 hours, she continued to abound with energy as the rest of the team were drooping in the heat.
Frankie is a Consultant Anaesthetist in Poole with many years experience and a contact list to rival the Prime Minister. Yesterday to our great amusement she answered our drivers phone thinking it belonged to Garang. What followed was a long conversation during which time Frankie was asked to speak English to which she indignantly replied “I am speaking English”. Instead of an afternoon nap, Frankie organised a trip to Juba Teaching Hospital and was thrilled to see the high dependency ward was functioning well.
Today being Sunday, 3 of the team (Becca, Ben and Kate) went with Majok and Garang to the Episcopal Anglican Cathedral while Prem and Frankie wrote the presentations they should have written before they came.
Becca, Ben and Kate visited the Sunday school and spent 2 very hot and interesting hours at church. Unfortunately the best seats had already been taken. A number of VIPs from the government were in the congregation and were introduced to the team. these included Abeil Alier, the former President of Sudan, John Wol Makec, Chief of Justice, Samuel Wani, National Assembly MP and Professor Moses Machar, former Vice President and current Vice Chancellor of Bahr el Ghazal University.
We all rendezvoused at the New Sudan Palace Hotel restaurant for an authentic South Sudanese meal which tasted better than it looked. It’s going to be an early start and another full day travelling tomorrow to Wau, before we start working in earnest.
On our last evening in Juba, we have been joined by Edward Luka, Chief Editor of the Southern Sudan Medical Journal. We brought greetings from his wife Poni, currently in the UK on a clinical attachment and he gave us useful information about primary care and midwifery services in S Sudan.
We leave Ben, our Consultant Ophthalmologist, to spend a week working in the eye unit in Juba Teaching hospital.
Love team Super 7
We have arrived in Wau at last. It has been a long but exciting day. We flew into Aweil this morning, as Wau airport is still closed following a crash 2 weeks ago and had a tour of their hospital where Garang used to work. Medicine Sans Frontiers were much in evidence doing lots of good work; Caesarean section rate of only 6%, but not much teaching or development of local staff going on. We then drove for two hours on dusty dirt road to Wau. It was a fabulous opportunity to see the bush. Unfortunately a passing UN vehicle was treated to a less than beautiful sight of Prem from behind as she had a call of nature in the bush.
When we got to Wau we met Dr JamesOkello Morgan Director General who welcomed us very warmly. We then went on a tour of the hospital. We saw evidence of recent renovations, the wards appeared clean and Frankie was delighted to see the privacy and dignity sign on the labour room door. We were with Drs Majok and Garang who after more than 2 months away (they were with us inPoolefor 6weeks) were greeted very enthusiastically by their colleagues.
We were then treated to a wonderful Sudanese banquet at the home of Majok before arriving at our delightful accommodation with the nuns at CHTI. We had another lovely meal with all the sisters and now we are all sitting in our rooms busily preparing our presentations and teaching for tomorrow when the real work starts.
We all set off this morning feeling excited and a little nervous as we want to make a good impression on the staff at Wau. We all went off to our respective ward areas to meet with the doctors and nurses and join ward rounds. Frankie; to her great delight found her oxygen concentrator and used it for the first time in theatres. Becca saw two babies being born without complications but was disappointed to discover that spilt blood won’t be cleaned up until the cleaners return tomorrow. Kate saw a lethargic and severely dehydrated child come back to life after intravenous rehydration. Prem had a very interesting ward round on the medical wards and saw the first-hand how difficult it is to treat patients with very few diagnostic investigations and limited treatments available. We also introduced ourselves to the senior nurses and started our teaching at the CHTI nursing school. Tomorrow we meet with the doctors to start our teaching with them.
Team profile number 2.
Fix it Kate is not just a paediatric nurse she is also our handy woman with a comprehensive tool kit for any emergency. She generally lives up to her reputation for being prepared but in Juba she was caught out by an unidentified intruder who left teeth marks in her soap and nibbled through a packet of crisps. Fix it Kate rose to the challenge and tied her food parcel to the mosquito net pole to prevent any further scavenging. Fortunately she still has plenty of snacks left! Next on her list of challenges is to fix the oxygen concentrator on the paediatric ward.