Archive for 'Blog'

Annelise Brown

Introductions & hablas español?

I am living in Boloncó, a small village in the Alta Verapaz region. This region is known to be the poorest, and also the most dangerous region in Guatemala. The latter I have not experienced as of yet. The people here are beautiful; they are welcoming and kind. The closest town is Fray Bartalomé de las Casas, a 50 minute drive along a bumpy ‘road’. The area has a tropical rainforest climate and much of its economy has been built on the cultivation of palm oil. Much to my excitement, it is also well known for cacao and coffee plantations.
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Annelise Brown

Guatemala: First Impressions

My first impression of Guatemala was a good one. It is a beautiful country; it is mountainous, with terraced hills, numerous looming volcanoes, and diverse forests. Traffic is busy and chaotic, people are everywhere and food stalls; notably fruit, line the roadside. Churches stand tall in every town, Catholicism being the main religion here. And of course, a town is not complete without a football field, even if it does consist of a dirt patch with makeshift goals at times. I was looking forward to getting out the small football I carry with me everywhere when I travel. › Continue reading…

Annabel Merrett

“Ponte Las Pilas” – full immersion in Trujillo, Peru

One of my favourite Spanish quotes is “Ponte Las Pilas”, which literally translates to “put in your batteries” and is akin to the English saying, “put your skates on and get cracking!”. It perfectly describes the first few weeks of my time in Trujillo, Peru. There has been no rest for the wicked and I have loved every moment of it.

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Annabel Merrett

Virtual Reality Ultrasound

As I hung up my white coat for the last time, I reflected on all the great memories of my 5 weeks in the radiodiagnostic department in Pisa, Italy. One particular stand out was being able to trial a new technology in radiodiagnostics utilising virtual reality technology, with the goal to improve the skills of doctors using ultrasound. › Continue reading…

Marilynn Webb artworks to feature at National Rural Health Conference as part of Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust fundraising event.

Marilynn with her Te Waka Toi award. As feautured in the ODT Monday November 7th

The Pat Farry Rural Health Education trust is delighted to announce that a major component of their fundraising drive in 2019 will feature the auctioning of several original Marilynn Webb prints.

A former Francis Hodgkin Fellow and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Marilynn Webb is widely considered to be one of New Zealand’s most distinguished and influential artists.

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Annabel Merrett

Fair Saturday

“Cured yesterday of my disease, I died last night of my physician” – Matthew Prior, The Remedy Worse Than the Disease (1714).

Buongiorno from Italy!

After finishing the hard slog of 5th-year exams, and the relief that came with passing, I was ready to throw myself into learning the culture and health system of Italy whilst improving my radio diagnostic skills. Italy is known to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked it second in the world behind France for overall efficiency in a report published in 2000. In contrastPeru (my second elective placement) is ranked 129th. (For interest New Zealand is 41st, unfortunately losing to Australia by 9 places). I was curious to experience first-hand the efficiency of an Italian hospital. › Continue reading…

Tash Austin

The mountain bikers, skiers and rescue dogs!

Tom and Meagaidh from Search & Rescue

Before I arrived at the Belford it had been joked that in summer the hospital was full of mountain bikers and in winter skiers and snowboarders. This was to prove very true. Although there was still snow on the mountain tops the summer sports were well underway. Mountain bike accidents were right up there with the top admissions and broken vertebrae seemed to be a favourite. I saw neck, back and pelvis injuries as well as very impressive bruising covering one patients entire back. The worst cases were stabilised and sent to the bigger hospitals in Inverness or Glasgow. Most patients were tourists to the area and often transfers could be arranged back to local hospitals or spinal units closer to home in other parts of the UK.

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Tash Austin

Taking new skills to scenic Scotland..

Welcome to Main Street, Fort William!

After a quick flight, which served to remind me just how quick and easy travelling in Europe is, I had landed in Scotland. My next placement was at the Belford Hospital in Fort William and getting there was a delight. I passed a scenic afternoon on the train traveling through golden hill ranges and past tiny stations seemingly used only by hikers stepping out to the trails, before arriving at the small but charming town that was to be my home for the next placement. Fort William has a population of around 10,000 but brings in many more visitors through its well-deserved title of ‘’Outdoor Capital of the UK”. The town nestles at the base of the Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. At 1350m it’s on the smaller side by NZ standards but is known to be covered in snow on the tops for most of the year and thus can be a technical climb. In the summer months the area is inundated by walkers and mountain bikers then the winter sees an influx of people for various snow sports. The popular West-Highland Way trail from Glasgow ends here and the mountain biking downhill world champs are held in the area.

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Tash Austin

The other end of the spectrum..

The huge Mater Dei Hospital

Having gotten my feet wet in the small rural hospital of Santo, Vanuatu it was time to turn to the opposite end of the spectrum. Mater Dei is a huge 900 bed Hospital located in the main city of Malta, Msida. I applied here because I wanted to contrast what I was seeing in my two rural hospital placements and see a large range of patient presentations in the time I had available. And what an experience it was!

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Tash Austin

Oh and Gee!!

A further two beds in the delivery suite

Oh and Gee, are perhaps the politer words to describe what I was often thinking during my rotation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at NDH. The staff are extremely hardworking and do their best with the resources available, but it was a far cry from services available in New Zealand. › Continue reading…

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