Simien Mountain Mobile Medical Service are keen to support medical students and doctors who wish to undertake an elective or medical placement in the Simien Mountains and surrounding areas. We are also keen to host qualified doctors, nurses and other health professionals who wish to practice medicine outside their own country and expand their experience and skills.
There are a range of medical facilities in the area ranging from a large tertiary referral hospital in Gondar to our small clinic far into the mountains. You will see a range of pathology and presentations, many unlike those in the Western world. The information below will give you some more information places you could spend your time.
‘We had an absolutely fantastic time working at Keyit Clinic! Keyit is a spectacular village, and all the SMMMS staff were, without exception, so welcoming and kind to us both.’ – Isabella de Vere Hunt, Oxford University
University of Gondar Hospital is a 400 bed university hospital, which acts as the referral center for four district hospitals in the area. It has a range of specialties including pediatrics, surgery, gynecology, psychiatry, HIV care and an outpatient’s clinic. Within its 400 staff it employs 50 doctors, 150 nursing staff, three pharmacists, 90 care staff and 25 laboratory scientists. These staff serve a population of four million across the region. As a university hospital, it plays an important role in teaching medical and nursing students.
Gondar has a close link with Leicester Hospital in the UK and often have doctors and students on exchange placements.
Debark is the last town before the mountains and has a small hospital that serves a population of 2.5 million, treats up to 50,000 patients a year, has 57 inpatient beds and is staffed by 5 doctors and 35 nurses.
All the doctors are committed to improving the hospital as much as possible and have embraced the link with SMMMS and are very keen for regular visits by Western health professionals. The hospital sees a diverse range of pathology with more complex cases referred to Gondar.
Dr Shegaw Agezew is our main contact in Debark and is probably the best person to contact to discuss spending time at the hospital. We would highly recommend spending part of your placement at the hospital working with the doctors in Debark.
The SMMMS Keyit clinic is approximately four hours 4×4 journey from Debark. The clinic is staffed by two nurses employed by SMMMS. We run a daily clinic and also have beds for inpatient treatment. The clinic deals with everything from pneumonia and diarrhea to serious burns and women in labour. The local population are very poor and some of the things you see may be distressing.
There are many complexities to providing a medical service in the mountains aside from diagnosis and treatment; management and planning of the clinic, primary care interventions within the population, research into the health of the population etc. If there is a certain area that you’re interested in please discuss with Marcus.
Our five mobile nurses serve remote areas of the park accessible only on foot. It is probably best to spend some time at the clinic and then join the mobile nurses. They provide health education to the local population, treat basic medical problems and provide antenatal care, amongst other things.
We are developing a close relationship with SaddleAid, a charity that designs and manufactures horse and donkey saddles for the transport of patients and women in labour. We are hoping to start using the saddles in the mountains at the clinic in the near future.
Please get in touch with Dr Marcus Stevens if you are keen to organise a placement or have any questions.