Links with Africa Provide Excellent Opportunities for All Who Take Part; Dr Tony Jewell, Wales' Chief Medical Officer, Explains Why Health Links with Sub-Saharan Africa Benefit the NHS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 29, 2011 | Go to article overview

Links with Africa Provide Excellent Opportunities for All Who Take Part; Dr Tony Jewell, Wales' Chief Medical Officer, Explains Why Health Links with Sub-Saharan Africa Benefit the NHS


Byline: Tony Jewell

WE CAN be proud of the work being done to create links between Wales and Africa and the ongoing contributions being made to improve the health of the world's poorest people.

A huge effort is being made by many health professionals, individuals and organisations to help support health workers in Africa and to strengthen health improvement and healthcare in African societies.

So far more than 500 volunteer health professionals from Wales have given their time and expertise as part of the Wales for Africa programme.

It's not only Africa that benefits from this. Health professionals from Wales are developing new skills and learning to think creatively in situations where few material resources are available. They gain experience in training, leadership, organisational management and problem solving as well as gaining a better understanding of health problems in sub-Saharan Africa. The experience usually brings a great sense of personal achievement and motivation and many feel that it helps to put problems in the UK into perspective.

I was delighted to take part in visits last year to two of the countries that Wales has longstanding ties with - Lesotho and Uganda. I was privileged to see how our links have led to consistent approaches in dealing with common issues like HIV and Aids; maternal and child health and mortality, ambulance transport and public health prevention programmes. Later this year I hope to visit southern Ethiopia to look at the work being done to improve maternity care services through one of our longest established programmes - the Gwent Southern Ethiopia Link, led by Biku Ghosh, who is also the chairman of Wales for Africa.

The Welsh Government is committed to developing links through Wales for Africa because we want Wales to be a responsible global citizen and support worldwide health ambitions, and because of the benefits that support for international sustainable development has for Welsh people. …

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