'My name is Paul Gibson, I’m normally a consultant paediatrician in Lancaster, in the north of England. I’ve been given a sabbatical for a year and so I’m midway through that year at Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The sort of things myself and the other volunteers are doing is primarily joining in with the local work force. I think that’s very supportive in its own right. People realise they are not on their own there are other people around the world interested in care. Some of it is organisational, so there are lots of things done in Sierra Leone that could be streamlined and done better. Which is the same with all health services so there’s lots of lessons from the UK which apply here in Freetown.
One of the features of health and healthcare is simply a shortage of numbers of health workers. Then there’s also the quality of skills those health workers have. If you start with the nurses, often they feel poorly paid and unrecognised. And training isn’t just about giving people new knowledge and new skills but it’s about giving people a reward. So one of the things that external people like Global Links funded by THET can do is actually bring that in and actually send a message to nurses or nurse aides that what you do is valuable and is important to invest in you and your training. '