Part­ner­ship pro­motes a health­ier prog­no­sis in post-war So­ma­liland

THE (Times Higher Education) - - KING'S COLLEGE LONDON -

Set up in 2000, the King’s So­ma­liland Part­ner­ship has worked to strengthen the health­care sys­tem in the young democ­racy by bring­ing health pro­fes­sion­als and in­sti­tu­tions in the UK and So­ma­liland to­gether.

The part­ner­ship is run from the King’s Cen­tre for Global Health in Lon­don and draws on the clin­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional and re­search ex­cel­lence of lead­ing NHS hos­pi­tal trusts and the univer­sity.

So­ma­liland is emerg­ing from a con­flict that ended 25 years ago. It has some of the world’s worst health in­di­ca­tors and a trou­bled health­care sys­tem. When the first ex­pert vol­un­teers vis­ited in 2000, there were no med­i­cal schools, no reg­u­la­tory body, only one nurs­ing train­ing course and few hos­pi­tals. There was also no psy­chi­a­try in the med­i­cal school cur­ricu­lum. Since then, the part­ner­ship has grown into an or­gan­i­sa­tion with more than 150 ex­pert vol­un­teers across 11 spe­cialty ar­eas, work­ing with 13 key So­ma­liland in­sti­tu­tions and reach­ing hun­dreds of health work­ers and stu­dents an­nu­ally.

There is an em­pha­sis on sus­tain­abil­ity and work­ing to­wards a point when the vol­un­teers will one day no longer be needed.

Rox­anne Keyne­jad be­came in­volved with the So­ma­liland part­ner­ship in 2009 as a grad­u­ate-en­try med­i­cal stu­dent at King’s and is still in­volved to­day as a men­tal health lead.

“It’s re­ally valu­able that we, in some way, con­trib­ute to strength­en­ing health pro­fes­sions ed­u­ca­tion in coun­tries that have lost health work­ers be­cause many of them left after the civil war,” she ex­plains.

Rox­anne now su­per­vises a med­i­cal stu­dent and ju­nior doc­tor, who have built upon the “Aqoon” stu­dent peer-to-peer part­ner­ship which she co­founded eight years ago, us­ing the MedicineAfrica web­site. She says: “To see that [the project] is still hap­pen­ing, it’s been im­proved and bet­tered by med­i­cal stu­dents com­ing after me and that the part­ner­ship has evolved and is now fo­cus­ing more on health pro­fes­sions ed­u­ca­tion is all won­der­ful to see.”

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