Developing Health course
(The diary extracts that follow appeared roughly every other day on the CMF website, and on the Facebook and blog pages.)
…wonderful couple of days, with the combination of excellent medical teaching and spiritual inspiration which makes this course unique…whistled through the whole of paediatrics in a day yesterday, and the whole of general medicine in an afternoon today! …paediatric practical skills workshop… Resusci-baby got intubated, cannulated and ventilated – but sadly didn't look any better.
Tonight I ran a 'chat show'. One doctor wondered why everyone suddenly fell to the floor during her ward round in Sudan and then realised that bullets were flying outside! Another participant has to watch for altitude sickness in the mountains of Tibet… struggles with spiritual oppression and corruption… the joy of training people and seeing them learn and grow both medically and spiritually.
Two more full days – mosquitoes, worms, and other hazardous parasites yesterday and HIV and palliative care today. A bit of time to enjoy that rare event, the English summer evening, and Albert from Malawi has played his first game of croquet – 'Give me another couple of goes at this and I'll be dangerous!'
…community health day…watching Alex Duncan's amazing video of life in the back of beyond in Central Asia. He lived there for six years with his family, setting up a primary health care programme… hard graft but through his work, child mortality fell from 32% to 21%.
…moving talk from Maureen Wilkinson on community mental health. In terms of global causes of mortality, neuropsychiatric disease is low on the list, but in terms of years of life lived with disability, it is far and away the leader of the field.
Monday was trauma and orthopaedics …star-studded cast of lecturers including CMF's very own Giles Cattermole in his other incarnation as a consultant in emergency medicine, the inimitable Ranti and Verona, and the wonderful Chris Lavy! 10% of all the deaths in the world are the result of trauma – more than malaria, HIV and TB combined, and emergency treatment is often inaccessible, ineffective or unavailable.
Surgery…we all now feel we could do a laparotomy! We learnt some useful skills, including suturing and taking skin grafts, practised on oranges so it's fruit salad for lunch tomorrow. The most gruesome session so far (but great fun!) was learning how to take out a tooth…pigs' heads to practise on – takes an amazing amount of force to pull out a pig's tooth!
Ira told us her story – she's an Indian who's been doing medicine in the UK for 15 years, now as a consultant. She felt God calling her back to India – encouraged by the 'Who is my Neighbour?' workshop she set off in January to a Leprosy Mission hospital. She found herself on a 1-in-3 covering 60 beds and seeing 200 outpatients every day, and the pressure of work began to take its toll. After about a month she was composing her letter of resignation when one of the staff showed her Gideon's story – a man disheartened and overwhelmed by the constant attacks of the Midianites. God's words to him spoke powerfully to Ira: 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?' ( Judges 6:14). Ira knew God is sending her and will enable her…she is planning to return long term.
Thinking about working overseas? Preparing for a trip? This handbook looks at all the issues, from 'What could I do and when should I go?' to 'How do I fund it and what do I take?' For £2 it contains a wealth of information and important contacts – a must both for those gently exploring possibilities and those getting ready to go.
Who is my Neighbour?
We ran our workshop on medical mission and international work in Oxford in March. Again, we had a good crowd and a lovely mix of students, juniors, seniors and retirees – some with experience to share, others investigating. Several mission organisations exhibited. The next events are in Edinburgh on 25 September and Newcastle on 4 December. We are now taking bookings for 2011 – what about hosting a day or an evening in your region?