For those of you out there who chance upon my Blog here’s some background:
I’m a retired UK doctor who responded in late 2010 to an appeal for volunteers to work in resource poor areas of the world to help those countries attain the Millenium Developement Goals in health particularly to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth and babies dying as newborn. Obstetrics and Gynaecology is my profession although I’ve been working only in Reproductive Health since 2007. MDG 5 aims to have the Maternal Death Rate down to 250 per 100,000 livebirths by 2015. That’s a huge task for some countries – the latest reliable figure for Cambodia for example was 461 in 2008, that’s one mother dying for every 217 babies born. Compare that with around 1 in 10,000 in the developed world and you see the scale of the problem.
My home has been in North Wales for over 10 years and I have worked in Merseyside all my professional life so Cambodia is quite a contrast. In Cambodia in 2011 I was supported by VSO, by friends and family and by work colleagues. If you would like to play a part in helping reduce the risk for these childbearing women in the poorer parts of the world you could volunteer too. Various roles are needed by VSO and similar organisations, so why not Google VSO and contact the office? You could be there too – or anywhere, one day! Or if you prefer, why not donate to the work of VSO? You will find a link on the Blog page over on the right hand side.
In 2012 I joined the faculty of trainers with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and so travelled to Somaliland in Feb-March with a team delivering life-saving skills training to nurses, midwives and doctors where around 80 participants attended the course in the capital, Hargeisa. Another course in Liverpool was less of a cultural and gastronomic challenge but no less enjoyable and rewarding. I returned to Somaliland May-June with another group training health workers from Berbera and all being well I hope to maintain involvement in this type of programme as long as the opportunity and ability continue. According to WHO data Somalia is one of the top 3 countries for maternal deaths due to pregnancy, and 19 of the top 20 are in sub-Saharan Africa. The life time risk of death from childbirth facing a 15 year-old Somalian girl is currently 1 in 14 (2008).
In 2013 I am visiting Tanzania for the third time having returned to Cambodia twice and taught in Pakistan one time. The IVF in Liverpool continues to provide an enjoyable interlude and keeps me in touch with good colleagues and some aspects of my profession. Tanzania has an added dimension since our community in Bala, North Wales, has been linked with a similar sized farming community – Milo, in the highlands of South West Tanganyika. We are still in the phase of exploring what that link may mean for both communities as we establish communication and develop relationships.