South Sudan: "It feels very much like home"

02 March 2017

Johanna Lönn is a nurse from Sweden on her first assignment with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). For seven months she'll be managing a tuberculosis department at the hospital in a refugee camp in Bentiu, South Sudan. The hospital is the only health centre in the camp. Here she blogs about the facilities and staff practices around the camp.

We live right next door to the hospital, which means we do not have to travel far at all in the morning. Nice for those who aren't morning people like me!
 
The hospital has many departments, including a children's area; an ITFC department that treats children with malnutrition; a tuberculosis department; a temporary cholera department; a surgical ward; a general medical department; an obstetric/maternity care ward and an operating theatre.
 
Each department has an international supervisor and one national supervisor working together.
 
We also have an outreach project that makes house calls throughout the camp.
 
Not all Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) projects have an operating room, so we sometimes get patients from other MSF projects in South Sudan sent to us. We have around 120 patients with us, spread out across the wards.

My national nurse supervisors have been here for several years and have an eye on the situation -  they truly make my job so much easier!

My official title here is nurse management supervisor. This means that I am the supervisor of the medical, tuberculosis and surgical departments.
 
Together with my national staff supervisors Gabriel and Simon, we ensure that the schedule is done, order materials, identify staff training needs and arrange small training sessions.
 
Gabriel and Simon have both been here for several years and have an eye on the situation - they truly make my job so much easier!
 
I usually go on rounds in the morning to get a picture of how patients feel.
 
These follow-up rounds are very similar to hospital work at home: lunch must be served, drugs should be administered, bedding must be washed and changed, and discharge planning needs done.
 
It feels very much like home!

I usually go on rounds in the morning to get a picture of how patients feel.

Sometimes staff need to do an examination which they've not done before, so I step in to show and explain how it works.
 
In the afternoons I usually plan and prepare for the training sessions that I hold every two weeks. They deal with different areas such as drop rate and hydration, or how to insert a peripheral venous catheter (PVC) in the proper way.
 
Overall, there are both things that I've observed the staff could do with more training in, and the things that the staff themselves have asked for.
 
 
 
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