Tribal conflict broke out in South Sudan at the end of 2013. This has affected several of the Links between Wessex and South Sudan, though not all parts of the country are equally affected.
Poole Africa Link Update, July 2014
Our last visit to Wau Teaching Hospital was in November, 2013: shortly after this the start of the current unrest erupted. Although Wau remains peaceful and is several hundred miles from the main area of unrest, travel has become more risky, and we have reluctantly decided that we need to wait until things become more settled before resuming our programme of regular visits to the hospital.
The link with Wau began in 2009, and since that time we have sent teams of 5-6 health care professionals twice a year to teach doctors, nurses and midwives working in the hospital. In addition to this, we have organised a parallel teaching programme with student nurses and midwives in the local nurses’ training school.
Teaching rather than doing
We go to teach rather than do, but have been able to participate in emergency situations as a result of which lives have been saved. In line with this, we have had funding from the Pharo Foundation to set up a High Dependency Unit at the hospital. Work on this project commenced last year (2013), and will be resumed when we can get safely back to Wau. As part of our teaching programme we have welcomed several doctors from South Sudan to Poole Hospital for short clinical placements. We remain committed to Wau despite the current setback, and are in regular contact with our friends in South Sudan by email, telephone, text messaging and Facebook.
The practical needs of Wau Teaching Hospital are even more acute under the present circumstances, and we are pleased to have recently sent out £2,000 worth of medical kit via a South Sudanese supporter of PAL, Korby Gaere. A very successful black tie dinner and charity auction organised by Bournemouth University Events Students provided the finance for this much needed aid. Our colleagues in Way have requested blood pressure machines, foetal sonic aids, pulse oximeters and sutures: we were able to send all of this (and other kit) with Korby, as well as additional kit for one of the local clinics.
All was gratefully received. The hospital has requested more kit, especially more oxygen concentrators – we purchase these life saving machines from Uganda at a cost of about £800 each, so currently our fundraising is focussed on these.
The picture to the left shows Dr Isaac Cleto (Minister of Health for Western Bahr el Ghazal), Korby Gaere and Dr Majok Ruom (Minister of Health for Lakes States) in Dr Isaac’s office where the kit exchanged hands.
Electricity and Solar Panels
We have been involved in another practical fundraising venture, this time to acquire solar panels which will provide electricity for lighting the paediatric wards in Wau Teaching Hospital. This was an initiative started by the UN in Wau, and we have been privileged to play a small part in raising money for the three solar panels which were recently installed.
We continute to organise fundraising events to provide more desperately needed equipment for Way locally, the next being a BBQ on Friday 25th July, in Canford Cliffs. Tickets for this annual event are available fro Poole Hospital Charity Shop at a cost of £20.
We remain committed to Wau, to the hospital and both nursing schools where we are privileged to teach during each visit. Meanwhile, we continue our communication with our friends and colleagues in the hospital and ministry of Health as we try to find the best ways to support them until we are able to resume our regular visits.
For more information visit www.pooleafricalink.org
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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.