05 March 2015 Volume :3 Issue :6

Improving Primary Emergency Care for KZN Communities

Improving Primary Emergency Care for KZN Communities
UKZN equips doctors and nurses with skills for primary emergency care.

UKZN ran its eighth successful Emergency Medicine Workshop, training doctors and nurses from KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and community health centres to provide effective and preventative primary emergency care to patients.

The highly interactive workshops are multidisciplinary and modelled on the principles of experiential learning, according to the Department of Family Medicine’s Dr Mergan Naidoo.

Naidoo said the workshops equipped participants with the ability to share the latest knowledge and skills acquired with colleagues as a way of increasingly saving lives of patients brought into the emergency units of their respective hospitals. They also addressed significant challenges they faced on a regular basis as emergency health care practitioners.

Supported by the University and its Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) project, the Departments of Emergency and Family Medicine, Nursing, Paediatrics and Surgery have consistently collaborated to ensure that these ‘train-the-trainer’ workshops achieved the objective of up-skilling KwaZulu-Natal’s health districts in primary emergency care.

Naidoo said: ‘The overall development of emergency care in the province is essential.

‘You see many patients managed poorly, and this results in adverse outcomes for the patients.’

Not only was he passionate about teaching, but Naidoo said seeing the emergency care programme becoming more and more interactive was in itself rewarding.  He said two further workshops were planned for uThungulu and the uMgungundlovu districts in 2015.

While Naidoo delivered stimulating presentations on HIV and medical emergencies in asthma, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, his colleague, Dr Ruben Naidoo – Head of the Clinical Unit in Family Medicine – spoke about the medico-legal urgency of caring for a rape survivor as an emergency.

With intervals of fire drills, case studies and sharing best practices, the two-day workshop covered a host of other topics including paediatric emergencies, resuscitation, cardiology, trauma, toxicology, dealing with an unconscious patient experiencing fits, and ethics in the Emergency Room. These were presented by UKZN-affiliated lecturers and doctors who work in the eThekwini and iLembe health districts; making it easy for those attending to form strong networks for later encounters.

The Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Busi Ncama, also addressed the workshop participants.

She praised them for taking time to attend the workshop which she believed was an ideal opportunity to update their skills and reflect on current practices.

Ncama spoke about the prioritisation of training students and healthcare practitioners within the decentralised communities they come from as strategically embarked on by UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.

Ncama alerted participants to the various postgraduate degrees and scholarships offered in the School, encouraging them to not shy away from sending applications.

A professional nurse at Stanger Hospital, Mrs Lindiwe Zulu, said the workshop was informative and covered an impressively broad scope of topics in a short space of time.

Dr Mahavishnu Moodley of Sundumbili Community Health Centre in the Ilembe District said he was also impressed with the workshop as it covered a lot in a short space of time.

Moodley said: ‘The workshop was a good refresher to keep updated with current trends.’

Participants agreed it was essential to recognise and treat medical conditions appropriately so that they did not result in emergencies.

Lunga Memela

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