DENBIGHSHIRE clinicians learned about different cardiac conditions, hosted a range of training courses and helped design new systems as part of an annual visit.

Staff from Glan Clwyd Hospital travelled to Hossana, a rapidly growing town 230km south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, as part of its longstanding link with the Nigist Eleni Memorial Hospital.

Staff from the two hospitals have been working together over the last 12 years to share training and medical experiences, as part of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's commitment to join other Welsh NHS organisations in supporting healthcare in developing countries.

Highlights from the visit included cardiologists learning about conditions not normally seen in North Wales, North Wales medics supporting a review of Emergency Medicine services at the hospital and engineers sharing advice and training on the maintenance of hospital equipment.

Denbighshire Free Press:

The trip was undertaken as part of Glan Clwyd Hospital's longstanding link with the Nigist Eleni Memorial Hospital

Dr Tom O’Driscoll, consultant in emergency medicine and chair of the Glan Clwyd - Ethiopia Link, said: “The visit to Hossana was again an amazing experience for the NHS staff involved, and a real privilege to be a part of.

"Many of the challenges the hospital faces sound familiar – matching resources to increasing demand and rising expectation, staff shortages, academic and training ambitions, equipment and IT issues. Many more challenges however are very unfamiliar including extremes of need, and shortages of water, power and medication.

"In teaching and working alongside colleagues in Ethiopia facing the challenges together, the team visiting demonstrated how much we have in common as powerful advocates for improving patient care and served as excellent ambassadors for NHS Wales.

"Undoubtedly, we have learnt a great deal more than we could have expected too."

The hospital, which serves a population of more than 1.5 million residents in the Hadiya region of the country, has on average 18 babies born in its maternity department every day, more than 20,000 emergency department attendances each year, and more than 160,000 outpatient attendances annually.

More than 14kg of dental equipment was donated to the hospital, as well as numerous textbooks and learning resources.

The visit was funded by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa Programme with support from Hub Cymru Africa.

Cat Jones, head of Hub Cymru Africa, said: “It has been great to hear of the shared learning between Welsh and Ethiopian partners.

"The training skills and working in challenging environments that many of our health professionals are able to develop through experiences like this will serve them well on their return to Wales and help us develop a motivated and resilient experienced workforce in our health services."