Low wages and a 40 year dearth of medical
information left Angola with little real nurse training and very poor standards.
This meant that although many Angolans have
been struggling to improve things, patients lack the care and professional standards that we in the West take for granted.
Over the years we have tried our best to implement
change at a national level through various initiatives. While some of these have had little impact, this is too important
a subject to walk away from. So we are now working from the grassroots up.
Among our major initaitives was a pioneering
programme to ensure better standards of nursing care in children's hospital units.
This project, at a major children's hospital in Anggola, centered around corrective
surgery for Angolan orphans. Owing to the culture of families looking after children when they are in Angolan hospitals, there
was a major need to ensure that these children without families received proper care and attention.
There was also a pressing need to support and fund the motivated Angolan nurses to
implement changes in the hospital and sidestep the traditional system of those child patients whose families were forced to
pay for decent care by "private payments" to medical staff, simply to ensure they do their job.
Accordingly we set up a training and monitoring programme, and funded extra nursing
This introduced care plans for each
child and provided the resources needed to provide adequate care and improve infection control in the wards and Intensive
In adition we supplied play rooms for the children with full time play workers.
Our day to day involvement in the programme ended in late 2003. However we still
keep a "watching brief" in that we continue to employ the coordinator on a part time basis. We also continue to fund
a play worker to ensure the children are stimulated.
We are happy to report that some of those involved in the programme have recently
moved into senior postions in the hospital where their dedication and motivation will ensure improvements for all the patients.
We hope this will spread to other hospitals as originally envisaged.
We have now changed gear by focussing on a major infection control programme at the
hospital. This involves:
- UK study visits for key personnel
- Improved resources
Link nurse pilot projects
- Hand washing campaign
- Nurse and doctor education programmes
data collection and analysis
- We fund essentail materials eg swabs, microbiologal swabs, new elbow taps, soaps, towels,
bin liners and cleaning trolleys.
The study has been published in a Angolan medical journal demonstrating
enourmous improvements in contamination rates. The aim is to show what's possible and get the authorities to provide these
bare necessities and promote this model throughout Agola.