SSMJ November 2010


Editorial: Helmets reduce death and brain injury in motorcycle and push-bike accidents

We at SSMJ are delighted to see that the GOSS is taking the subject of road safety seriously (1) and that Road Safety Awareness Week is taking place as we write this. We hope that this will lead to future enforceable legislation – particularly the wearing of helmets. Many studies have shown that helmets worn by motorcyclists who crash reduce the risk of death by about 42% and of head injury by about 70% (2). Helmets have been shown to provide a 63-68% reduction in risk of severe brain injury (3)

News, Reports and Policy

Critical Thinking in Healthcare: Reflections on Southern Sudan

A Vietnamese proverb states, “The mouse does not know life until it has been into the mouth of the cat”. The Vietnamese practice the Buddhist religion and firmly believe in incarnation or rebirth after death. The Southern Sudanese healthcare system has already been 'into the mouth of the cat' during the liberation war. Those of us who remember the dilapidated state of the healthcare services before and during the war do not want to see a similar system reborn or 'know life'

Personal patient-held 'health books' – Should Everyone Have One?

In this age of electronic media, here is an idea for South Sudan's health services. Massimo Serventi, a doctor with wide African experience and presently working in Darfur, suggests that everyone, especially children, should have and keep their own personal paper 'health book' – and keep it throughout life. The main aim being to improve the diagnostic orientation of health professionals.

Medical Elective in Juba Report

Every year, many medical students do four-week electives in foreign places as part of their medical training. My friend, Laura-Ann Lambert, and I are medical students from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. We have just completed our electives in Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH), Southern Sudan. As two twenty-one year old female ‘Kawajas’, we were discouraged from taking our medical electives there. In western society, Sudan is still perceived as a dangerous place. Little did they know the wonderful teaching...

News and Resources - November 2010

This section gives news from Southern Sudan and relevant clinical information from other journals and reports, and suggests materials that can be freely downloaded, and/or obtained in hard copy or on CD. Items are grouped under: Chronic diseases; HIV and other infections; Maternal, newborn and child health; Surgery; General resources.

Southern Sudan Doctor's Association

SOSDA Announces that the registration of new members, production of membership cards and updating of register of old members is now on!

Clinical Guidance

Low back pain - look for the “Red Flag Signs”

Over the last few years I have visited Rwanda many times working at a beautiful but remote rural health centre (Kirambi, about 100km south–west of Kigali). The “Land of a thousand hills”, as Rwanda is sometimes called, is a land that is difficult to cultivate needing a lot of hard work. The people there attend the health centre at Kirambi with a wide variety of complaints but, at my recent visit in July, the striking fact was...

WHO Charts for Everyone Caring for Children in Hospital - Chart 4

we reproduce Chart 4. How to manage the airway in a child with obstructed breathing from ‘Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children - Guidelines for the Management of Common Illnesses with Limited Resources’ WHO 2005 – see the whole book at We published Charts 1, 2 and 3 in previous issues of this journal (vol 3 nos 1, 2 and 3) and plan to publish more in future issues. You can use these charts in different ways. For example, you can print them and display them in relevant wards or clinics (laminated if possible), or use them as a ‘memory aid’ in your pocket, as handouts or as training aids. We thank the WHO for permission to reproduce these charts, and Dr O’Hare who gave us the idea of making the charts more widely available.

How to read an electrocardiogram (ECG). Part 2: Abnormalities of Electrical Conduction

This is the second in a series of articles that aim to help readers to understand and interpret recordings of the surface ECG. The first article introduced the basic principles of the ECG including the electrophysiology of the heart and the features of a normal ECG (1). This one describes some of the common abnormalities of electrical conduction which can be seen on the ECG.


The Cyclists Helmet Study in Juba, Southern Sudan, 2006

Juba has a poor road network and few public transport options, with an increasing number of people riding motorised or non-motorised cycles This study seeks to characterise the cyclists (including helmet wearing) and to use the findings to make recommendations to the concerned authorities. The study found that most of the 3564 observed cyclists were adult males; the proportion using helmets was very small (1%). Many cyclists had an extra passenger, or were carrying a load. More than half the cyclists were riding in the middle of the road. Only 18% of the motorcycles were licensed...

Case Reports

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