Welcome to Wilhelmina

VIP: Wilhelmina (centre) gets a warm welcome in Hartlepool. Beside her is director of nursing and patient safety Sue Smith (left) and Jill Barrett (right)
VIP: Wilhelmina (centre) gets a warm welcome in Hartlepool. Beside her is director of nursing and patient safety Sue Smith (left) and Jill Barrett (right)

AN African medical expert has learned all about the UK’s health facilities by spending three weeks in Hartlepool.

The head of a nursing school in Tanzania is visiting North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust thanks to links set up with a hospital there.

Wilhelmina Mafuru normally spends her time at Kilimatinde Hospital in Tanzania where the facilities were so poor, they didn’t even have beds for patients until five years ago.

But in the past three weeks, she has swapped East Africa for the Tees Valley to see how the trust runs its services.

Medical rehabilitation day unit sister at the University Hospital of Hartlepool Jill Barrett has been giving her a tour of the trust.

Jill, who lives in Hartlepool, visited Kilimatinde Hospital in Tanzania in September last year. Wilhelmina works at the 150-bed hospital.

She said: “It’s been interesting for Wilhelmina to find out the different processes we use here and to try and adapt those to Kilimatinde Hospital.”

Activities have included full tours of the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool. She has visited the trust’s rehab day unit, observing the falls clinic and the matrons at work.

Wilhelmina also visited the children’s surgical dental clinic and toured the pharmacy. Other highlights have included meeting director of nursing and patient safety Sue Smith.

Jill added: “Until five years ago Kilimatinde Hospital didn’t even have beds for patients. They still don’t have proper access to running water.

“They do have a solar powered well that is already there but they need to have money to buy copper wiring for it. The main issues they deal with over there include aids, malaria and dysentery.

“It’s so different to how we work at this trust and the issues that are most common here.

“She has also visited maternity services which has been very helpful for her as she teaches midwifery skills back in Tanzania. These are things that she can learn from and take with her back to Tanzania.”

Kilimatinde Hospital is a small rural hospital. It supports some remote village communities offering general medical supervision. Jill is planning a return visit to Tanzania to visit the hospital again in the coming months.

Wilhelmina said: “I have really enjoyed my visit and have learned a lot of things that I can take back with me. I am looking forward to welcoming Jill back to Kilimatinde in the future.”