Medical Director visits Africa on Teaching Trip

Dr Ellen Wilkinson, Medical Director at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has recently returned from a teaching visit to Somaliland where she took part in a teaching programme for medical students studying mental health in the recently formed African state.

Medical Director visits Africa on Teaching Trip

The visit was part of the King’s Somaliland Partnership’s ‘Prepared-for-Practice’ programme. Run from the King’s Centre for Global Health in London, the partnership is part of an Academic Health Science Centre that draws on the clinical, educational and research excellence of three leading NHS Hospital Trusts and a high profile university.

The Cornwall Foundation Trust works in partnership with Kings College London, MedicineAfrica (UK), Tropical Health & Education Trust (UK), universities and teaching hospitals in Somaliland all working to support the healthcare system in the fledgling African state.

On her return to Cornwall Dr Wilkinson said, “What a wonderful and rewarding experience, it was an absolute pleasure to play a small part in teaching such a friendly, responsive and appreciative group of students who will undoughtably become the future medical leaders and agents of change within their country’s healthcare system.”

“The Prepared for Practice programme aims to positively impact every step of the healthcare educational pathway, ensuring that Somaliland’s next generation of health graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to meet the challenges they will face.”

Dr Wilkinson explained, “Teaching institutions struggle to produce medical, nursing and midwifery graduates who can apply their learning to real world situations. Once out of university, young graduates receive little support in their workplaces, but are often expected to make life-or-death decisions. This is where the Prepared to Practice programme can really make a difference and help address this situation.”

Medical student Hamda Najmuddin one of Dr Wilkinson’s students said, “I now have a better knowledge of mental health and understand more about how to diagnose different illnesses, which would not have been possible without your help.”

“It has been my privilege to be your student Dr Ellen, your advice will stay with me always. There are not enough words to thank those who made this programme possible.”

Hamda added, “This is just the start for me, but not the end, as I now want to become a Psychiatrist.”