German Hospital Study Tour Organised for Afghan Health Professionals

Thirty-two Afghan health professionals, including doctors, nurses, administrators and technicians from Northern Afghanistan Hospitals in Kunduz and Takhar as well as officials from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Kabul, participated in a hospital study tour from March 23rd to April 22nd in 2014.

Organised as part of the KfW funded ‘Rehabilitation of Hospitals in North Afghanistan’ project, the study tour included visits to German hospitals in Bremen Nord, Westerstede, Rotenburg and Leer. Physicians from Afghanistan and Germany, who have been collaborating through the project’s telemedicine initiatives for the past six years, were able to meet face to face, some for the first time.

The study tour allowed participants to observe work procedures in specific areas of the hospitals including Intensive Care Units, Emergency Rooms, Operating Theatres, Technical Workshops, Waste Handling Units, Central Sterilisation Supply Units, Diagnostics and standard Wards. Participants were able to view how workflow principles are carried out across a variety of facility layouts to maintain hygiene, minimize risks to patients and staff and support the efficiency of work flow.

An appreciation of the underlying patterns and principles being applied in the visited hospitals allowed participants to develop a strong understanding for new hospitals in Afghanistan being built under the EPOS managed ‘Rehabilitation of Hospitals in North Afghanistan’ project. Most participants previously had experience only of hospitals in Afghanistan, many of which were constructed decades ago and are currently in desolate condition.

Over the course of the month-long study tour, several participants attended short practice sessions in various specialty units including technical departments, nursing directorates or mammography units.

The study tour participants were warmly welcomed throughout the hospital visits, often being recognised for the dedicated care they perform in Afghanistan under extremely harsh conditions. Telemedicine initiatives were strengthened with invitations extended for further individual practice visits and for German experts to undertake volunteer visits to Kunduz and Taloqan this Summer.