Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Hospital blog from Alastair

Theatre list at Shunga

I have a busy spell planned until the end of October. The doctor from Matyazo hospital is on leave and I started last week to spend Tuesday (day and night) and Wednesday of each week there. There is a day of ward rounds, selected outpatients and a night on call, followed by a long day in the operating theatre. I still struggle with medical Swahili. It has been good to work with a young Tanzanian medical student, Hosea, whose English and medicine are both great.
Thursday is a theatre list in Shunga Hospital with Henry Ndege. He is an ‘AMO - assistant medical officer’ – not a fully trained doctor, but the kind of person who is ‘doctor’ for many of the smaller hospitals of Tanzania. AMO’s often perform surgery, and it is a delight to teach him. He operates as well as any of the juniors I have worked with in UK, and better than most. We have added prostatectomy, hysterectomy and mastectomy to his operation skills. Facilities are, by UK standards, pretty basic. For medical readers anaesthetic is either local or ketamine, and facilities for post op care largely limit what we can do surgically.
Every Monday I go to the Government hospital here in Kasulu, so by Thursday night I am pretty tired of surgery and bad roads. That leaves Friday to teach English and do everything else, and maybe even relax a bit.
It's not what everyone would call retirement - but it's challenging and fulfilling!

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