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Supporting medical education in Namibia: German government funded hospital partnership

27.02.2018 - Article
The international course on tuberculosis took place in Windhoek.
The international course on tuberculosis took place in Windhoek.© UNAM

In 2017, Research Center Borstel (Schleswig Holstein/Germany) and Katutura State Hospital entered a hospital partnership, which is supported by a German government funded programme on hospital partnerships. This partnership continues the long term engagement of the Universtity of Lübeck and the Research Center Borstel in supporting medical education in Namibia.

International course on Tuberculosis, one of the top health care challenges

From 5 to 8 February 2018, an international training course about tuberculosis took place at UNAM School of Medicine and Katutura State Hospital, funded mostly by GIZ.

Tuberculosis is still the deadliest infectious disease worldwide. Namibia has the 5th highest burden of tuberculosis worldwide per 100.000 inhabitants. Hence tuberculosis is one of the top health care challenges and priorities in the country.

The course convened under the leadership of Dr Gunnar Günther, a German lung specialist working at UNAM School of Medicine and Katutura State Hospital. It was supported by Research Center Borstel, the leading tuberculosis research institute in Germany, experts from the United States, Germany, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia in order to teach Namibian health care workers the newest developments in tuberculosis care. The Namibian National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme under leadership of Dr F. Mavhunga has been a key partner during the event.

Update on new developments

Prof. S. Niemann (Research Center Borstel) updating the participants on developments in the field of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis.
Prof. S. Niemann (Research Center Borstel) updating the participants on developments in the field of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis.© UNAM

Highlight of the event was a public symposium at UNAM School of Medicine, which was attended by the Minister of Health and Social Services of Namibia, B. Haufiku, the Pro- Vice Chancellor of UNAM, Prof. F. Gideon, and the German Ambassador Christian Schlaga. More then 200 health care practioners attended the symposium, Of particular importance was the issue of evolving drug resistance in tuberculosis, which increases the burden caused by the disease on patients and health care systems.

Very practical focus made the course a real success

The course, which had a very practical focus with ward rounds and laboratory visits included in the agenda, has been a big success with all participants and enhanced tuberculosis specific knowledge among Namibian health care professionals, but also fought the still tremendous stigma involved in tuberculosis care.

The organizers hope to make this course a regular event in Namibia.

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