Izzuddin is a University of Aberdeen medical student who visited Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital in Ethiopia earlier this year. He tells us about his experience below:
Arrival in Bahir Dar & Setting Up the Study
I visited Bahir Dar, Ethiopia for 2 months for my elective project in March and April. It was my second time being there, having visited during my third year of medicine. I remember feeling so comfortable even on my first day back. I guess because I was already familiar with the place.
The greetings in Bahir Dar were as welcoming as I remembered, the weather was dry, cold and warm at the same time, the music was constantly loud and up-beat, and the road was busy with mules, trucks and bajaj. Yet again, so many things had changed too. The airport looked new and proper, the hospital had an impressive new gate, more buildings in the hospital were built for patients and there was even a CT scanner which did not exist the first time I worked there!
This time my mission was to complete an audit on postnatal care in Felege Hiwot Referral Hospital. Before coming to Ethiopia, I carried out some readings on my topic. Although the level of maternal and neonatal mortality in the country is very high compared to the rest of the world, postnatal care coverage is still very low (only 18%) and most mothers and babies by far do not achieve a good standard of care after delivery. With that in mind, I had an idea to collect data from mothers who come to the hospital clinics for their postnatal check-ups. I was extremely surprised to learn that postnatal check-up was not even an established programme at the hospital.
How could a referral hospital that caters for more than 9 million not have a system that would allow them to detect and treat complications of birth during postnatal period? It didn’t make sense to me. However, I had to proceed with my project and decided to follow mothers in the labour ward instead as it was the most feasible way for me to complete my audit…
Above photo: The gate at Felege Hiwot