Poole Africa Link Update April 2015

Author(s): Hilary Fenton-Harris, Poole Africa Link co-ordinator

The link between Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Wau Teaching Hospital began in 2009, and since that time we have aimed to send teams of 4-6 health care professionals twice a year to teach doctors, nurses and midwives working in the hospital.  In addition to this, we have organised a parallel teaching programme with student nurses and midwives in the local nurses’ training school – see Figure 1. 


Figure 1. Sally our midwife teaching in nursing school in Wau (credit Hilary Fenton-Harris).


During our visit in February this year we were pleased to notice many improvements in the hospital. The building of a superb new maternity theatre and mothers’ waiting home has greatly enhanced the maternity facilities – see Figure 2.

Figure 2. New maternity theatre complex at Wau Teaching Hospital ((credit Hilary Fenton-Harris)


The hospital is generally much tidier and more observations and documentation is being completed. A new blood bank has been built though is not properly functioning yet. However many essential facilities are still lacking. Power is still limited and from the generator which remains expensive to run. Funding of this is still a very big problem which needs addressing urgently. There is no running water except in the theatres, and many of the drains remain blocked.  The hospital continues to lack essential drugs and other supplies.

The number of medical officers has increased which is very encouraging. We were very pleased to see that the hospital was fairly clean and that notes and files were being used on many of the wards, including maternity.


We go to teach rather than do, but have been able to participate in emergency situations as a result of which lives have been saved.  In line with this, we have had funding from the Pharo Foundation to set up a High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the hospital.  Work on this project commenced in 2013, and although we couldn’t send a full team in 2014 due to security issues in South Sudan, two consultants went for a brief visit in Nov 2014 and we sent a team on 4 for two weeks in February 2105. We started work on setting up another HDU area in the maternity theatres – see Figure 3. As part of our teaching programme we have welcomed several doctors from South Sudan to Poole Hospital for short clinical placements.

Figure 3. James Ayrton with the new anaesthetic machine in the new maternity theatres (credit Hilary Fenton-Harris)


We regularly supply kit to the hospital purchased through fundraising or donated. All kit is gratefully received.  Last year we had money donated for two lifesaving oxygen machines at a cost of £800 each, now in regular use. We continue to organise fundraising events to provide more desperately needed equipment for Wau locally and support future team visits.


We are committed to Wau, to the hospital and both nursing schools where we are privileged to teach during each visit. At the same time we are also looking at the possibility of teaching clinical staff at Lira University in Uganda.


For more information visit http://www.pooleafricalink.org.uk, follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Poole-Africa-Link/107144779385628  or email 

 Hilary Fenton-Harris [email protected]..


Dr Alex Bakiet, the Director General of the hospital gave permission for the hospital photos.


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.  Chinese Proverb.