Friday, September 29, 2006

south africa (1)

Hi everyone - after a long pause. I am back in Africa and loving being here. As ever I have had major problems with computer access so was only able to add a post today!! I will tell you a bit about the past few weeks over the next postings.
I arrived in Johannesberg on the 14th September. Initially I was working with Dr Natalya Dinat and the Wits palliative Care team. They provide an academic base within the Witswatersrand University and a clinical service within Soweto. They are a fantastic team and it was great to see them again. I hope to add a photo soon. I addressed the grand round medical meeting and attended a seminar arranged as part of World Hospice Day (7th Oct). Dr Robert Twycross was the main speaker and it attract a wide audience including the Dean of the University and senior politicians. Let us hope it will help in raising awareness of palliative care and the need for service provision and training. This year saw the first medical students complete their palliative care curriculum at Wits, with excellent feedback. In particular the students explored areas of personal coping, emotional and spiritual distress as well as the more physical problems. Much of this work was presented in portfolios that were innovative, creative and moving to read. One student read a poem she had wrtiien inspired by her patient entiltled 'Death be Defied' - I will try and add a quote later. I took part in the 2nd Wits palliative care day which was a fun and busy day as the students worked with case scemarios and simulated patients to explore palliative care issues.

Africa is an amazing place as I am discovering each visit. I hope to share some of my impressions with you in future posts but let me quote from Archbishop Tutu, who is a great supporter of palliative care and recently celebrated his 75th birthday. 'We are made for goodness, we are made for love, we are made for laughter, we are made for joy, we are made for transcendance' Here is an African sunrise to inspire you.

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