A lasting legacy in hospitals across Somaliland

Michael Odesoji, Surgical Nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, attended his first HEST course as Nurse Lead in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Here, Michael shares the importance of surgical nursing for improving patient safety, and how his training will make an impact right across the country.

Hargeisa was my first mission with the Foundation as Nurse Lead – and it was amazing. We trained 34 healthcare workers at the Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Following David Nott’s ethos, it’s important to ask healthcare workers what they need, rather than deciding for them. Imposing knowledge without insight isn’t useful. Some of the topics the participants wanted to cover included how to form a safety checklist for surgery, emotional preparation of patients for operations, and maintaining good antiseptic techniques in the operating theatre.

With Mubarak, the Nurse Anaesthetist at Edna Adan Hospital, I led an interactive session on the importance of the surgical safety checklist for both the multidisciplinary surgical team and the patients. It resonated really well with the participants and the hospital’s surgical theatre staff.

Making a big impact

I then helped to design a bespoke surgical safety checklist for the hospital, which suited the cultural environment of Somaliland, using the WHO surgical safety checklist template. The checklist was implemented and put into use in the operating theatre before the end of the course, which was incredible to see.

Mubarak took it upon himself to champion its continued use, as well as ensuring it is implemented in every hospital in Somaliland. This was fantastic to hear, as it will further enhance patients’ safety and reduce avoidable mistakes in operating theatres across the region.

HEST in Hargeisa

I also organised a neonatal resuscitation session with the midwives and ward nurses, alongside Faculty Member, Dr Jeanne Frossard. The whole team were awesome and worked tirelessly to deliver the best possible experience for every trainee.

It was so exciting to see that the course was making a big impact in such a short period.

Moments to remember

Edna Adan Ismail, a passionate advocate for women’s health and Founder of the Edna Adan Hospital 20 years ago, was a force of nature and very welcoming. One of my best memories of the trip was when Edna and the hospital team organised a surprise birthday party for me, which was very thoughtful.

My first David Nott Foundation mission as Nurse Lead was an incredible one – and gave me a real favour for the real impact of the charity’s mission. This trip was hopefully one of many.

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