WESTERN Australia regularly sends small teams of health professionals overseas to share their health knowledge, recently expanding into educational institutions in Tanzania.
Among them will be Fiona Stanley Hospital’s paediatrics nurse unit manager Lynda Deacon who expects to see six babies in a cot sharing the same IV bag when she lands in Tanzania in late January.
“I’ve got a reasonable idea of what we will be walking into,” she said, based on photos provided by staff who have gone before, but expects it to still be a huge culture shock and emotionally demanding.
Ms Deacon said her team of three, including two nurses from Rockingham General Hospital, will teach the foundations of critical care in the limitations presented in hospitals in Tanzania.
“It is about empowering staff and updating their knowledge,” Ms Deacon said.
“We have amazing facilities here (at FSH) with an abundance of equipment and supplies,” she said.
“We throw out bags of fluid all the time if partially used, we have running taps and sinks in every room – they may not have a sink on a whole ward.”
“We have massive amounts of monitoring.”
“I’m quite a good lateral thinker and you can use your eyes and touch to assess and you can do a lot without any equipment,” she said.
She said tech-free ways of sustaining babies were employed by hospitals in Tanzania, like “kangaroo care” where a baby is kept skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest as much as possible.
Parents in Tanzania face confronting infant mortality rates.
The team will teach 30-odd staff per class, for a week at a time, at four different hospitals.
The Global Health Alliance WA is an international health development program of the Nursing and Midwifery Office at the Department of Health WA.