A group of five people from Foveran Parish Church went to Africa this July on a trip to help young and old people there. Tricia & Peter Keihlmann, both doctors, took three young people – Shannon, Jess & Cameruon – to Uganda and Kenya. Below is some information about what Peter was going to do there.
Integrating and strengthening palliative care in Africa
During July 2013, I will be working on the ‘Integrate Project’ as a volunteer in Nyeri Hospital in the foothills of Mt. Kenya. I’d worked in Kapsowar Mission Hospital on the Kenya-Uganda border in 1984-5 and have kept up links with both countries since then. Eight years ago I went with a team from PRiME teaching General Practice to the Kenya College of GPs, & visited Hospice Africa Uganda 5 years ago when my daughter Beth worked in Kampala during a Gap Year.
There are 30 UK-based Mentors in the Project, which is hosted by Edinburgh University, working in partnership with Makarere University in Uganda & THET (Tropical Health & Education Trust) to integrate palliative care into health systems across Sub Saharan Africa. 12 hospitals throughout the region have been trained in key areas of palliative medicine but there is now a need for mentors to help build confidence & to reinforce learning.
This is an amazing opportunity, working alongside African hospital professionals, for me as a mentor to make a practical contribution to communities in need and to expand their own expertise and knowledge of how health systems work in different contexts. Mentors come from many disciplines, all motivated by a desire to share their skills and knowledge in supporting palliative care programming in Africa.
Each mentor commits to at least one trip of 2-3 weeks to a hospital in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda or Zambia. In addition, mentors maintain contact with their partner hospitals for two years in order to reinforce the support offered whilst on placement. There is also a process in place for mentors to feedback to practice and policy makers in the UK.
While there Tricia and I will visit New Life Homes in Nyeri and Nairobi where Guy and Susannah Bastable care for orphaned children. Tricia & our daughter Beth will also work with Kids Club Kampala, a charity Beth was involved in setting up.
I will try to keep up a blog and twitter feed while away!
10th July – Its been a busy few weeks what with planning, packing, immunisations, more packing, malaria pills, some unpacking!, travel insurance, reading up guidebooks on Africa as well as normal day to day life! Flight to Africa is in two days and due to arrive in African darkness almost at the equator.
Folk have been so generous in supplying various Textbooks and BNFs, as well as many schoolbags, shoes, specs and baby clothes for the orphanages. KLM have a generous baggage allowance and I think that I’m just inside the limit. Thanks for your kindness and the many messages of support!