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ss CMF news - autumn 2007,  Mission Matters

Mission Matters

Keeping in touch and ongoing intercession for members working abroad

Developing Health Course surpasses expectations

Two weeks prior to its start, in the midst of the office move, we were wondering whether the course would be viable. As it was, a record 64 people attended for all or part of the course, and over 50% booked in that last fortnight! They came from 13 different nations, a good mix of doctors, nurses and therapists. Eighteen were currently working overseas, 20 were preparing to go and 26 were simply exploring the possibility. The specialist days attracted 19 individuals who simply wanted a particular update in relation to working in resource poor countries.

Once again the course was much appreciated: 'an excellent course with a good mix of spiritual and the professional'. John and Heather Knowles excelled themselves making folk feel at home: 'The family atmosphere and accommodation was a gift from God to us'. 'A fantastic time – I learnt so much and met so many amazing people.' I can truly say Amen to that.

Sadly another milestone was passed, as Peter Bewes announced it would be the last occasion on which he would lecture on the course. Thank you Peter (and Hilary) for your many years of input. On a happier note, the budget balanced for the first time for many years, using slightly higher fees from those in paid employment to subsidise others. Next year's course will again take place at Oak Hill: 29 June to 11 July 2008.

Tooke Enquiry into Modernising Medical Careers

The CMF submission (www.cmf.org.uk/ethics/submissions/?id=46) highlighted concerns raised by a number of members thinking of working overseas or already doing so. The experiences of some members on their return to the UK have been highlighted previously. The recent Crisp Report1 gives cause for hope the problem is being recognised and might change. The Chief Medical Officer's comments in the 2004 report International Humanitarian and Health Work2 recognised the value of such activity but it appears the NHS still lags some way behind in such thinking. In a recent article in BMJ Careers 3 Mark Goldring, the CEO of VSO, comments:

We need to recognise that building international partnerships is the key to strengthening the health system in both the developed and the developing world. Allowing our experienced teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals to be part of a circle of knowledge and best practice is the right response to the challenges facing the developing world. By accepting that we have a part to play in ending poverty, be it in making the right consumer choices, donating time and money to international charity, or supporting the idea of our public sector workers sharing their skills overseas, the UK can have an even greater leadership role in solving the problems facing the developing world and those within our own NHS.

Further Congratulations

For those following the saga of Chris Lavy's re-entry into the NHS, you will be delighted to hear that not only has the light at the end of the tunnel materialised but he has been awarded an honorary professorship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He writes:

Last year I had to take registrar status but this year the Lord is showering me with undeserved kindness. I want people to know that spending ten years in mission work in a poor country is recognised by one's peers, even if the Government takes 15 months to notice it.

Publications

A new edition of the Short Term Missions Handbook, rewritten and renamed Working Abroad is available at www.healthserve.org/pubs/ and will soon be published in hard copy. A new edition of the booklet Re-tyred not retired will also be available, in time for the planned retirees conference.

A limited edition of the 2007 Developing Health CD Rom was printed for this year's course. Input from it is being added to the disc and it too should be available in the autumn. It is free to those working overseas, thinking of doing so, or wishing to send one to someone who is, but we would value a donation from those who want extra copies.

Events and courses

  • London Electives Day: Wednesday 12 March 2008. We will not be holding an electives day in Leeds in 2008 but hope the local medical school CMF student group will.
  • Redcliffe College run a number of longer courses suitable for those thinking of working overseas: www.redcliffe.org/courses
  • Action Partners run several relevant courses: www.actionpartnerscorp.org.uk

Financial support

In the aftermath of the very generous response to the Capital Appeal there has been a noticeable diminution in gifts to CMF's overseas work. We encourage you to support our mission outreach. An outline of various projects you could support financially can be found at www.cmf.org.uk/projects/?id=3.

References
  1. Global Health Partnerships www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/ghp.pdf
  2. International Humanitarian and Health Work: a toolkit to support good practice - www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics
  3. Goldring G in BMJ Careers 30 June 2007
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