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Christmas appeal

Sarah Pickworth: Helping refugees in Greece

29 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

sarah_pickworthDoctors of the World has been helping refugees in various locations around Greece including Idomeni on the border with Macedonia. By early autumn around 10,000 refugees were pouring across this border every day. Sarah Pickworth, a general practitioner from the Highlands, has been providing medical care with the Greek Doctors off the World team in Idomeni for several weeks. 

In the past month the situation has changed dramatically with the Greece-Macedonia border restricting movement to only Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi nationals. At one point more than 6000 were stranded. The number of people presenting with chest infections grew at an alarming rate as the temperatures dropped. Scattered among the refugees are those who have been beaten by police while they were travelling, people needing dressings on extensive burn injuries gained from escaping sinking boats, and distraught people just needing to talk about how they have escaped persecution, but are now not eligible to cross the border. more…

Mohammed Bakir: a refugee camp on the fringes of society

17 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

dotw_mohammed_bakirWe look on in silence from the car window as scenes of normality in central Calais, a typical Western European city, give way to the squalor and misery of the infamous refugee camp on the city outskirts known as “The Jungle.” There is no warning, no transition; the contrast is stark. Entering the camp, the convoy meanders its way between hastily erected tents and shacks, and advances along the dirt path. We pass by people crowding around one of the few water points in the camp, busy collecting water and washing. A few weather worn and tired faces look up at us from the crowd. We exchange a few heart felt smiles and waves, and the convoy is on its way again. more…

BMJ Christmas Appeal: How Doctors of the World helps refugees across Europe

4 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

leigh_daynes2The BMJ has chosen Doctors of the World for this year’s Christmas charity appeal. The charity’s executive director, Leigh Daynes explains how Doctors of the World is helping to bring care to the most vulnerable people across Europe and beyond.

Have you ever been so cold and wet that your bones felt numb?

I recently visited a refugee settlement in Dunkirk, northern France, and the scene was appalling. Dozens of families, many with very small children, were living in flimsy tents under relentless rain in a field that had long ago turned to mud. I visited the same place in the summer when just over 100 people lived there. Now there is twenty times that amount, mostly Iraqi Kurds. more…

Dave Albert: Cycling surgeons for safer surgery

1 Nov, 13 | by BMJ Group

dave_albertWhy would one ever consider cycling from Glasgow to London when there is a perfectly good train?  Particularly if you choose a really hilly route, with 20 percent climbs through the Lake District and twice over the Pennines.

This question was on our minds as we got colder and wetter and our legs struggled up the hills, and the answer had to be that there was probably a very good reason.

We’re a group of paediatric ENT surgeons from hospitals across the country. We see the best of what safe surgery can do to change a child’s life, and we can picture all too clearly what will happen if surgery isn’t available—or if it goes wrong. more…

Krishna Chinthapalli on Atul Gawande—thinker, leader, doctor, writer

30 Apr, 13 | by BMJ

In 2009, Obama convened senior politicians in the Oval Office to discuss one magazine article: why were there Medicare costs of $15,000 per person per year in the Texan town of McAllen, when a neighbouring town had costs of $7,500 per person per year? Especially when the hospitals in McAllen were performing worse than its neighbour.

“He came into the meeting with that article having affected his thinking dramatically. He, in effect, took that article and put it in front of a big group of senators and said, ‘This is what we’ve got to fix,’” recalls one of the senators. more…

Shauna Mullally on fixing the lack of medical equipment in Africa

5 Feb, 13 | by BMJ

shaunaI see a lot of medical equipment that isn’t working. In fact, that’s my job. I’m a biomedical engineer and I spend a lot of time in Africa working with hospital staff, educators, and policy makers trying to understand why equipment doesn’t work and trying to do something about it. The figures themselves speak loudly. There isn’t a large evidence base, but the World Health Organization estimates that 50-80% of medical equipment in developing countries isn’t working. The rough figure from many hospitals I’ve visited in West and Southern Africa is around 40%. more…

Iain H Wilson: Why pulse oximeters from Lifebox make such a difference

25 Jan, 13 | by BMJ

iain_wilsonThe first person I saw die accidentally from an anaesthetic accident was a kind, distinguished man in his sixties, scheduled for surgery to a large leg tumour. During anaesthesia his endotracheal tube became kinked, which was not noticed by the anaesthetist. Undetected hypoxia was quickly followed by cardiac arrest and then resuscitation attempts, resulting in a brain-injured patient. In intensive care his grieving extended family were dignified and accepting. He died within 48 hours. Another preventable perioperative death in a hospital in central Africa in 1986.    more…

Louise Finch: Lifebox in Uganda—following up donated pulse oximeters

17 Jan, 13 | by BMJ Group

louise_finchThousands of well intentioned donations are made to developing countries every year but many of these do not achieve what was hoped; they don’t make it to the intended recipient, or they’re unfit for purpose when they do. I hope I can persuade you that this is not the case for Lifebox oximeters.

I was involved in one of the first donations of Lifebox oximeters: 80 pulse oximeters to anaesthetic officers and nurses across Uganda, delivered at a three day training workshop in June 2011. more…

Lifebox Q and A: El Salvador—education, education, education

8 Jan, 13 | by BMJ Group

sandra_lealA pulse oximeter in the operating theatre doesn’t make surgery safer; it’s the anaesthesia provider using the oximeter effectively who will save lives.

For Lifebox, the BMJ’s Christmas charity, provision of education is inseparable from donating equipment.

That’s why we’re excited to share a recent conversation with Sandra Leal the president of the association of medical anaesthetists in El Salvador (AMAES—Asociación de Médicos Anestesiólogos de el Salvador).   more…

Geoffrey Roberts on using Lifebox pulse oximeters in Zambia

28 Dec, 12 | by BMJ

lifeboxMy wife and I arrived in Zambia in August 2012 for a six month placement as surgical registrars in a busy rural hospital in the Eastern Province. This was my first experience of hospital care in the developing world and I was soon working all hours of the day and night, operating on everything from minor wounds, to major trauma, and abdominal catastrophes.

St Francis’ Hospital is unique in the local area because it provides an entirely free service and always has at least one experienced consultant surgeon from Europe. Patients travel for hundreds of kilometres to the hospital expecting, and receiving, a high quality of care. more…

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