Exeter continues to strengthen its ties with Ethiopia, following its fifth successful trip to Wollega Medical School.
Wollega Medical School is one of 13 recent medical schools set up by the Ethiopian government to combat the shortage of doctors in the country. The establishment contacted Exeter to create a partnership and to formalise an ongoing project.
Exeter Medical School has a proposed plan of six visits to develop a relationship with Ethiopian students and establish a sustainable collaborative learning programme which would be mutually beneficial.
The fifth trip was led by Dr Ian Fussell and Dr Rob Marshall, and also a team of medical students. The focus of this return was to provide teaching for the students and give feedback to the school’s medical academics.
Exeter medics focused on helping the students improve their communication and interaction with patients in the local hospital. Students Amy and Ailise created a series of workshops to overcome barriers between doctor and patient for the prospective medics; these targeted body language, introductions, and consent.
Ailise told Exeposé of the “culture shock” she initially had comparing Exeter to Ethiopian hospitals: “It was very different to what we are used to in the UK and made me realise how extremely lucky we are to be able to rely on the NHS for our healthcare… That said, it was really encouraging to see the innovations in healthcare taking place.”
Dr Fussell, Community Sub Dean here in Exeter, worked with Dr Getachew, the Dean of Wollega Medical School to help create a new Clinical Skills Lab. This entailed working with the local GPs to provide clinical skills training for both Exeter and Ethiopian students.
Fussell called the Clinical Skills Lab “one of the major achievements” of the fruitful collaborative project, giving “the GPs a chance to try their hands at using and becoming confident with the new equipment provided by the Ethiopian Government”.