The hospital in Mbale is a far cry from what we would expect to find in a UK hopital. For example, there is a ward for children with 20 beds and basic equipment, which can try to treat end stage malaria. At one time 120 children occupied 20 beds - a 600% occupancy rate, i.e. 6 children to 1 bed. Normally the rate is around 2-3 per bed. We hope that by sharing our knowledge of hospital management we will enable them to treat patients with greater efficiency. It is also hoped that by carrying out a health care survey of all the people in Mbale district, when an individual falls ill there will be records of their medical history.
The hospital link is enabling a major project to take place - to set up an endoscopy suite at Mbale Hospital. This will provide new health services to hundreds of thousands of people in Africa this summer.
Over the last five years,medical teams from the Royal Glamorgan have worked in a joint project with the Regional Referral Hospital at Mbale in eastern Uganda. The aim was to to train Mbale hospital staff in modern medical and surgical techniques and identify which hospital services were most in need of development. The result of that co operation will be seen later this year when what was two bare and run-down rooms becomes the first endoscopy diagnostic and referral unit in the Mbale District..
Two members of staff from Mbale are currently spending two weeks at the Royal Glamorgan learning how to operate and maintain the equipment .Sister Florence Naikesa and medical technician Absalom Emudu have already received hands on teaching from Royal Glamorgan staff in Mbale.Now they are here, familiarising themselves with their new kit before it is air freighted to Uganda. And in September two doctors from Mbale will travel to the University of Wales hospital where they will work alongside the gastric surgeons to put their learning into practice.
The new endoscopy service will make a big difference to the health prospects of a great many people.
Mbale has a population of around 300,000- the same as Cardiff – and serves as the regional centre for five million people over an area the size of Wales. At the moment the nearest specialist unit is five hours drive away in the capital city Kampala.
Dr Eryl Hicks, consultant radiologist at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and a project team member said that much of what has been achieved was down to the almost continuous fund raising by individual staff members at the hospital. “ Their kindness and enthusiasm has produced vital cash support” she said.
“There are more projects which the team has identified in Mbale and so fund raising from friends colleagues and the community of Pontypridd will continue for the long term .Every contribution is another step towards supporting the strong partnership with Mbale.” Dr Hicks added;“The Cwm Taf Trust has made possible the exchange visits by hospital staff and the endoscopes for use in Mbale have been donated by the medical supplies company Key Med.”