Ghanaian health authorities look to Southampton staff for guidance


Health authorities in Ghana have requested the services of one of Southampton’s leading radiographers to help transform services in the North Eastern region of the country.

Jane Spring, superintendent radiographer at Southampton General Hospital, flew out to the West African country in April to begin teaching local staff how to operate donated x-ray equipment in a medical centre run by the charity Afrikids.

During the trip, she was introduced to the health administrator and doctor of public health for Upper East Ghana, who asked her to visit regional hospitals and report back to them with recommendations on how to improve services. 

“The trip gave me a very stark insight into just how drastically health services need to be improved in Ghana and I am delighted to have been asked for my input by the country’s authorities,” Jane said.

“It is extremely important that the UK’s healthcare professionals continue to help developing countries and Southampton is leading the way in creating concrete links overseas, through personal endeavour and via our hospital’s voluntary society SOHMED.”

In addition to teaching and making recommendations, Jane unexpectedly found herself covering for the one and only x-ray technician at the centre in Bolgatanga.

She said: “It was a very surreal experience for me. Only a couple of days into the trip, the centre’s technician was called back to his village for a family emergency and I found myself x-raying all the patients for the three days he was away.

“It was a very challenging but rewarding experience, giving me the chance to use skills that I thought were long forgotten.”

Earlier this year, consultant radiologist Jo Fairhurst visited Bolgatanga to provide training in ultrasound and offer specialist radiological advice to staff throughout the region.

She was joined by former Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust clinical services manager Nick Eastcott, who attended in his capacity as chair of the medical advisory board of Afrikids.

Posted on Wednesday 10 June 2009