UWA’s African Connection
A group of senior WA medicos have turned their time and attention to helping the underprivileged medical students of war-ravaged Somaliland, an independent region within Somalia occupying the territory once known as British Somaliland. The consortium of doctors, led by Drs Rod Thelander and Gary Hastwell, and UWA Medical School Dean Prof Ian Puddey, is looking to cement a close relationship between UWA and Somaliland’s University of Hargeisa Medical School.
Hargeisa’s medical school was established by Dr Deria Ereg in 2003, with a 6-year curriculum based on the British medical school model and the first students graduating in 2009. In March this year, Ian, Gary, and Rod journeyed to Somaliland to lay the groundwork for what is hoped to become ongoing support for Hargeisa’s medical school. They were greeted with great enthusiasm by a contingent including the Health Minister and the President of the University.
There can be no doubt that WA doctors are committed to the cause. Drs Gary Hastwell and Diana Wellby have donated all of their obstetric and gynaecology equipment. UWA and its medical students have also donated a container-load of textbooks. Members of the group and other doctors, including Mr Graham Forward, director of Australian Doctors for Africa, plan to return to Hargeisa in February next year to once again lend their time, money, and equipment to the burgeoning medical school.
It hoped that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between the two medical schools, which will pave the way for regular, organised teaching missions. The team is especially keen on recruiting like-minded medicos to the cause, where they will do ward rounds and lecture students (lessons are taught in English). Doctors of all disciplines are sought. If you’re interested, contact Rod (below).
Somaliland Medical Students’ Stethoscope Appeal
Dr Rod Thelander would like to collect as many stethoscopes and other equipment as possible to take with him when he returns to Somaliland in February.
“Because Somaliland is a very poor country, most of the medical students cannot afford their own stethoscope or sphygmomanometer. For this reason, we’re asking doctors to consider buying themselves a new stethoscope and donating their old stethoscopes to the appeal. Other items gratefully accepted include aneroid sphygmomanometers, tendon hammers, and ophthalmoscope-auriscope sets,” Rod said.
Equipment donations can be left at all St John of God Pathology collection centres throughout the Perth, and should be addressed to Mr Mike Watts, Coordinator of the Somaliland Medical Students’ Stethoscope Appeal. Donations can also be sent directly to Dr Rod Thelander, 12 Mead St, Kalamunda WA 6076.
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