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I have just returned from my second visit to Beira in Mozambique where I have been teaching neurology at the new medical faculty of the Universidade Catolica de Mocambique (table 1). The medical school was set up in 2000 to remedy the desperate shortage of doctors in the country (table 2). The first 18 graduates from the school qualify in July 2007. There is a close link with Ipswich Hospital in the UK where I work (the Ipswich-Beira Health Initiative, a registered charity established by Dr John Day, a retired physician from Ipswich, who now plays a key role in the development of the school with regular three-monthly visits). Apart from myself, paediatricians, accident and emergency consultants, orthopaedic surgeons, and nurse specialists from Ipswich have also spent time there. There is a great deal of local enthusiasm in Ipswich for this project with money being raised through, for example, golfing days and garage sales organised by the local population. Hospital staff can also contribute on a regular basis via payslips. This money has been used to fund projects such as repairing the toilets in the medical ward at the hospital.
When I tell people I am off to Mozambique, I get the impression there is a vision of tropical beaches and sun with perhaps a bit of work thrown in. I hope that by providing a page of my diary, which describes a typical working day there, readers will get a better idea of what it is like.
MONDAY 13 MARCH 2006
As I open my eyes, through the mosquito net, I catch a glimpse of a lizard tail flicking into a crack in the wall of my bedroom of the hospital house we are staying in. Am I feeling OK? Have I got a fever? Abdominal symptoms? My hypochondriasis kicks in. Malaria is …