Welcome to The Gambian students 2007

Two medical students from The Gambia, Gibril Ndow and Joquina Chiquita Jones, spent the past two weeks in Swansea with graduate entry medical students at Swansea University.

“First hand experience really sticks. It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see laparoscopic surgery.”

Gambian students visit SwanseaPart of the wider link between the Swansea NHS Trust and the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul, The Gambia, the student link aims to provide a better understanding of global health to produce more culturally aware, well rounded doctors.

The two students spent the period going to lectures at the School of Medicine and attending placements at Singleton Hospital.  Both students found their clinical experiences in the hospital to be a highlight and commented on the use of technology: “First hand experience really sticks,” said Gibril Ndow, “It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see laparoscopic surgery.”

They found the differing methods of teaching interesting, and postulated that in some ways the available technology both for teaching and for later use as doctors affects the way material is taught.  They also joined Swansea medical students in their social activities. “We enjoyed dining and socialising with the students,” said Chiquita Jones. “Our trip to the Gower and playing netball with the Swansea medics was fantastic!”

Beginning in 2005, the relationship forged between the two medical schools continues to strengthen each year with student visits, an exchange of learning materials and an e-mail pen-pal system between medical students.  This spring’s visit was co-ordinated by Swansea graduate entry medicine programme first years Mike Wild, Jo Barnes and Bryony Coupe, who took over the link from students in the year above.

They look forward to following in their footsteps in a reciprocal visit to The Gambia in December.  “It’s great to see the link go from strength to strength – we’re so excited for the future and our new friends in Banjul,” Jo Barnes commented.

In the meantime students in each country are co-writing reviews on the World Health Organisation’s child health recommendations in developing countries.  “To build up the exchange further an improved internet connection and web link is crucial,” said Bryony Coupe, of one the current goals of the hospitals and medical schools.

The visit was made possible thanks to kind donations from the Rotary Club International and fundraising within the School of Medicine and Swansea NHS Trust.

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