Somaliland Sojourn for Perth Doctors
UWA Medical School and Australian Doctors for Africa (a fledgling WA charity) have agreed to assist the newHargeisa Medical School, in the capital of the Republic ofSomaliland. Assistance is in the form of donated equipment and regular visits from WA doctors to train new doctors so the (unofficial) nation can rebuild after years of civil war.
As recent as last March, Prof Trevor Parry, Dr Leon Cohen, Dr Anna Parker, and Dr Rod Thelander enjoyed the local hospitality to provide in-theatre and bedside teaching for medical students and interns – the first trip as a joint initiative of the two WA groups. UWA Medical School Dean Prof Ian Puddey and Emer/Prof David Allbrook had previously visited Hargeisa Medical School Dean Dr Deria Ereg, during which time it was decided to regularly send small teams of doctors from Perth to help train medical students and newly graduated doctors.
Anyone who is interested to help will be pleased to know that theRepublic of Somalia is the relatively safe and peaceful breakaway part of Somalia, which enjoys a stable government with law and order. Formed in 1991, the Republic has an area equivalent toEngland and Wales, supports 3.5 million people (predominantly sunni muslim), offers its men a life expectancy of around 50 years, and has about 45% of people living in Hargeisa or rural towns. Prior to 1960, the region was known as The British Protectorate of Somaliland, was only established in 2003 and the tiny nation is struggling to provide medical services for its people but it is happening – 75 medical students graduated last year (see http://khadar.powweb.com/admin/).
The most recent intrepid WA medical team spent just nine days lecturing and demonstrating to the 6th year medical students and interns in a wide variety of medical and surgical topics. The emphasis was on teaching practical clinical skills, something that is badly needed due to the limited number of well-trained clinicians and teachers. A lot of time was spent in the hospital wards with bedside teaching. Dr Leon Cohen assisted local surgeon Dr Sulieman Guleid.
The team stayed with the charismatic Mrs Edna Adan Ismail in the very impressive Maternity Hospital that she had built in 2002. Warm hospitality and time to meet other medical aid workers from the UK,USA and Norway all added to the goodwill, something that was acknowledged in speeches by students on the last day.
October 2010 is the next booked trip. Top of Dr Ereg’s wish list is teachers in ENT surgery, general surgery, neurology, psychiatry, internal medicine and urology.
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