9th April 2013
Following rather rapidly on the footsteps of Team 8, the next team is now perfectly formed and ready for the off.
The visas have been obtained, which involves much form filling. The process is not straightforward and despite completing every necessary box we cannot be confident that our paperwork will satisfy the new South Sudan embassy. Tuesday saw a triumphant Dame Yvonne Moores arriving at my place for a final team meeting/excuse for a get together, brandishing our passports with all the correct stamps.
This trip has involved some significant investment in equipment. The fantastic efforts of Ben Parkin (who is coming again on this trip) and his friends to raise enough money for an operating microscope resulted in an opportunity to send even more equipment to Wau in advance of our trip. We are extremely grateful to Tim Beacon from Medaid International, who sourced this microscope at a very good price. The new microscope has been taken to Juba and the Juba microscope transported overland to Wau. Tim Beacon is an old hand at delivering equipment to Africa, so to ensure safe passage we asked him to go with the shipment. Due to the vagaries of DHL, it cost barely any more to send further heavy items and somehow he sourced a huge cache of theatre instruments, a small steriliser and we bought a solar panel and its additional bits to go in the box. Just to complete the load we bought 3 more oxygen concentrators from Uganda and Tim collected these and added them to his load.
It should be like Christmas in Wau when we arrive, with all the new equipment, so I am thrilled to have a man (Rob Johnson) in the team who seems to understand about electrical wiring as well as team building. We are hoping to develop a High Dependency Area for post-op patients, complete with 24 hr lighting and 24 hr care.
We have received a generous grant towards this work funded by The Pharo Foundation and managed by THET.
The Paediatric Ward will be getting another oxygen concentrator and oximeter, courtesy of Lifebox, a charity part funded by the Association of Anaesthetists. Kate Pigott has already introduced the concept of High Care for paediatrics on a previous visit with minimal kit, so this extra equipment and her cleverly designed observation charts will give her plenty to work with.
Maddie Jordan, our midwife, is just back from Cambodia and now coming to Wau for her first visit. There is always plenty to be done in maternity, and we are beginning to see some results from our work. Cleanliness, patient observations, sharps disposal and neonatal resuscitation are all being improved and this trip we are hoping to introduce better management of eclampsia having witnessed two mothers dying from this condition on previous trips.
What am I going to do? Hopefully we will be able to set up the HDU/Recovery ward and start to admit patients. I plan to run twice daily ward rounds, teaching the benefits of regular observations and recognition of deteriorating patients. This teaching will be multidisciplinary, the nurses need to be more involved and need to be confident when they ask for help from the doctors. I have a plan and I hope by the end of our visit there will be more evidence that they have a plan as well!
Our regular blog will be posted on www.pooleafricalink.org.uk, the South Sudan Medical journal and you can also see us on facebook
PAL medical lead
Team 9 Leader