K4C welcomes medical volunteers from a variety of specialisms including obstetrics, gynaecology, anaesthetics, paediatrics, emergency care and general practice. Our previous volunteers have ranged from Foundation Year 2 trainees through to senior consultants. Most of our projects involve multidisciplinary team working so volunteers need to be prepared to contribute their skills across all areas, not necessarily just their particular speciality.
Aside from co-working with local doctors, nurses and midwives (amongst other staff) to exchange knowledge and skills, K4C’s medical volunteers have implemented various projects and formal training programmes responding directly to the complex needs of local staff and patient populations. Some of their past activities are described below:
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Key areas of activity in obstetrics and gynaecology have included developing cervical screening services, reducing rates of non-medically indicted caesarean sections, improving surgical techniques (e.g. low transverse rather than classical incisions), improving surgical safety and infection prevention and control systems, improving triage systems (e.g. implementing African Maternal Early Warning Scoring), setting up high dependency units and running emergency obstetric care training programmes. Placements tend to be hospital based, however volunteers also contribute towards other more general health projects which may be health centre or community based.
Key areas of anaesthetic activity have included improving surgical safety (e.g. by implementing the WHO Safe Surgery checklist), improving anaesthetic techniques (e.g. spinal anaesthesia), improving infection prevention and control systems, setting up high dependency units, renovating operating theatres and running emergency obstetric care training programmes. Placements tend to be hospital maternity theatre based, however volunteers also contribute in general theatre and towards other more general health projects which may be health centre or community based.
Key areas of paediatric activity have included running neonatal resuscitation training programmes, setting up new neonatal intensive care units (NICU), improving infection prevention and control systems and improving triage systems. Placements tend to be based in hospital paediatric and NICU units, however volunteers also contribute towards outpatient and casualty (A&E) departments amongst other more general health related projects which may be health centre or community based.
Emergency care is a relatively new area of focus for K4C. Although we have run various training programmes for nursing and medical staff working in casualty (A&E) departments and ambulance drivers, we have not previously placed a professional volunteer to work in these areas fulltime. The needs highlighted include improving resuscitation skills, infection prevention and control measures, patient triage systems and patient flow throughout outpatient departments, along with providing basic first aid training for ambulance drivers.
General Practice and Foundation Year Trainees
Although General Practice does not form a defined specialism in Uganda, GPs (similarly to Foundation Year trainees) have played critically important roles spanning all areas of our health activities. These have included running training programmes in patient observation and monitoring, improving prescribing practices for antimicrobials, improving triage and infection prevention and control systems, supporting sexual health, family planning and mental health services and supporting public health and community sensitisation programmes.