Our work across the globe

For many years, members of staff at Hampshire Hospitals, with support from the University of Winchester, have carried out a number of global health initiatives and projects around the world. 

Below, we have highlighted our most established global health links in Hoima and Yei, which are partnerships the trust developed over 10 years ago, alongside some of our other key initiatives. 

For more information on our global health work, contact: Heather Bennett by emailing heather.bennett@hhft.nhs.uk

Our work in Hoima

In 2005, Hampshire Hoima Hospitals Charity was set up to develop a long-term relationship between our Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and the Hoima Referral Hospital in the Hoima region of Uganda. For many years now, visits to Hoima have been from those at Hampshire Hospitals, as well as those from other hospitals to make a real impact on their community services and it’s people. Primarily, group focuses include maternity, neonates, paediatrics and anaesthetics. These visits have had an enduring impact on the hospital’s ways of working, infrastructure, clinical knowledge, collaborative working and professional relationships. These visits to Hoima have often focused on working alongside staff at the Hoima Hospital; providing teaching to staff and students while developing particular aspects of service, including neonatal resuscitation. Work with the Hoima Referral Hospital continues through Hampshire Hoima Hospitals Charity, which can be read about in more detail through the link below.


Our work in Yei, South Sudan

The Winchester/Yei link was set up in 2010 to support the Martha Primary Health Care Centre in Yei, Yei Civil Hospital (South Sudan Government Hospital near to Martha Primary Health Care Centre) and the Yei Health Training Institute that trains nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians.

Over a number of years, clinicians from Hampshire Hospitals have visited Yei and been able to work together with clinic/hospital staff, teach students and train village health workers, vaccinators and rural village birth attendants. These clinicians have been from many departments including physiotherapy, obstetrics, paediatrics, nursing, laboratory, midwifery, orthopaedics and general practice.

This Winchester/Yei link works to support health programmes in primary and secondary health care as well as health student training and repairing equipment. As part of this work, the link works with staff in primary and secondary care, supports rural health workers, local health training institutes, and the Yei County local health department. South Sudan has some of the worst health statistics globally and this link aims to address requests for specific teaching topics and hospital/health departments requests for help. 

Our key highlights - what differences have we made?

  • A blood bank was set up at Yei Hospital
  • A suitable minimal electricity fridge was sourced (as the electricity supply is intermittent) at Yei Hospital
  •  We were able to find UK electrical engineers to visit Yei in order to mend hospital equipment and train up a hospital electrician
  • A team member with plumbing experience repaired the water system at Yei Hospital to enable water to be supplied to the facility again
  • Two doctors from Winchester lived in Yei for a few months in 2015/16 and worked alongside primary care staff and paediatrics
  • A physiotherapist from Winchester has made two visits to Yei 

Due to insecurity, since 2016, no further visits within the link have been able to occur. However, this link works with UK charity The Brickworks which has very regular communication with Martha Primary Health Care Centre. We hope that as soon as security remains more stable, visits can resume. 

To continue global health work within this link, work has continued in a different way. Several visits have been made to the Kajo Keji Health Training Institute to help teach students. This is a training school that is South Sudanese but is in exile in Arua, Northern Uganda. As part of this work, Winchester/Yei link midwives, doctors and laboratory staff have made five visits to teach students at the training school since it has been in exile.

How have we worked around COVID-19?

Due to the pandemic, no further visits following these have been able to take place. However, we've continued teaching remotely and virtually with those at the Kajo Keji Health Institute.

Interested professionals are welcome to contact Simon Struthers on:

The Tanzania National Mesh Hernia Project

First begun in November 2018, this project is a piece of collaborative work with The Tanzania Surgical Association – under the auspices of Madame President Catherin Mlelwa (specialist surgeon, paediatrics). Colleagues from Hampshire Hospitals, as well as other trusts, alongside researchers at the University of Winchester continue to collaborate on this work as the project progresses.

Primarily, this project involves training surgeons in the technique of mesh hernia repair in their local facility. Part of this training incorporates the preparation of affordable surgical mesh so that they can become autonomous in their delivery of service.

Why is this work so needed?

This project adopts a well-established procedure using mesh for hernia repair, rather than a traditional suture plication technique. Using this approach will bring Tanzanian hernia repair to the same gold standard practiced by the UK. If every hernia was repaired today in Tanzania with mesh, in 5 years there would be 4,000-8,000 recurrences, rather than 160,000-320,000 with a suture repair.

The cost of commercial mesh is prohibitive for most of the population. The costs of inguinal hernia repair in Tanzania ranges from 50k TZS in smaller centres, up to 600k TZS in some of the larger centres. To use a commercial mesh adds a further 250k-350k TZS to the price. Furthermore, as mesh is only rarely used, expertise in this technique is thus also limited.

There is a novel approach to mesh surgery, that was developed and pioneered in India and subsequently adopted and rigorously tested by the UK based charitable organisation Hernia International (they have repaired over 10,000 hernias worldwide with this material). This uses a very particular form of mosquito netting (which has comparable composition to standard commercial mesh) for the prosthesis. This material has been rigorously tested to ensure its comparability, with the results published in the medical literature .

By reducing the cost of the mesh to almost zero (once some basic infrastructure is in place), it thus opens up the opportunity of revolutionising hernia surgery in Tanzania.

This project is supported by 'Surgical teams Working in aFrica Together for Safer Surgery' (SWIFTSS), who help fund and enable work.

For more information on the project, or to get involved in this work, contact:

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