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Hunduma Wekesse

Head of Stroke Unit

I am head of the Stroke Unit and have worked in Jimma University Hospital for three years.

Through a collaboration with THET and the University of Southampton we opened the dedicated stroke unit here. Since then we have received training including: swallowing care assistance, positioning, how to help patients take medication and evaluating patients, and this has meant that we are now able to offer daily stroke patient care.

There are 3 doctors with 3 nurses per shift and we have 8 beds for stroke patients. The beds are always occupied, often we don’t have enough beds to transfer patients from the Emergency Department, and so there are many patients who have suffered a Stroke waiting there, if the beds are free we can transfer them here but if not they stay there.

Patients come from very far away to be treated here, some patients have travelled 3000km to be here. We mainly see elderly male patients suffering from hypertension and diabetes and because this has remained untreated they then suffer a stroke. Of course the stress of a stroke further harms their health and their hypertension often worsens.

Families often stay here with the patients and we then teach them how to position and how to care for their family members both in the hospital and also when they return home.

We have many shortages in the Hospital and these have led to many patients being unable to receive the care needed. A patient that I really remember is one who sadly died because of an absence of oxygen. They needed oxygen and yet at that time not only did we not have any in the whole hospital but we also had no way of measuring the oxygen levels in the patient.

Now things have improved but I hope that in the future and we can continue to receive training to expand the services we can provide and help patients even before they have a stroke.