Trainee doctors from Leeds provide healthcare to deprived countries in Africa

Three trainee doctors from Leeds have been teaching healthcare in some of the world’s most deprived countries.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 6:00 am

Adam Jones helped run dental pain relief clinics in rural Tanzania, Aoife Hurley shared her expertise to improve the care of new born babies in Zambia, and Nguavese Onoviran helped improve medical care for pupils at a special school in Nigeria.

Adam, an academic clinical fellow in oral surgery at the Leeds Dental Institute, worked with the Tanzanian Regional Dental Officer and colleagues from Bridge2Aid, a UK dental development charity, to train six clinical officers in basic oral surgery. The officers can now offer basic pain-relieving dental surgery in their own remote communities where no service would otherwise have been available.

Adam said: “The programme was intense with the team working 10 hours a day in hot and dusty difficult conditions without electricity, and sterilisation was carried out using pressure cookers.

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“Yet, over the course of nine clinical days we treated over 700 patients free of charge. All of our clinical officers gained extensive experience allowing them to provide care in their own communities long after the UK team has departed.”

Leeds Children’s Hospital trainee paediatric registrar Aoife spent six months helping and teaching at the Women and Newborn hospital in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

Her work was split between clinical duties, and teaching and supporting the local team at the busy baby unit, which at times looked after 100 babies and has an average monthly death rate of 30 per cent.

She also introduced bonding squares to the unit - two knitted squares with one staying with the baby and one with the mum close to their skin to improve bonding between mother and child.

Aoife: “Seeing patients die from preventable causes and not having the same chances they would in the UK has been challenging and difficult, however, the team in Lusaka are amazing - their dedication and ability to work with very little is inspiring.”

Nguavese, another paediatrician at Leeds Children’s Hospital, has been in Nigeria helping to design a system for promoting better organised health care for children in a special school.

It means that staff, parents and health care professionals can work closer together thanks to the creation of personal medical records for each pupil that will link to health care services and more closely monitor each child’s health care.

Nguavese has been involved in designing a proforma for staff and parents to use as part of a pilot study and training them in how to use it.