My eyebrows have been getting a good workout at Galmi Hospital. Every day there have been surprising situations that have made them rise incredulously despite my best attempts to appear unfazed. On my way back from lunch I see Tassala standing at the hospital gate, waving urgently for me to head that way. I was expecting to meet her back in the outpatients clinic but maternity have called – they have an emergency. There is a woman who is six months pregnant and desperately short…Continue Reading “Trying not to act surprised”

We all like to talk. And we especially like to be understood. Landing in Galmi with very limited French and no Hausa language has made me realise how much I value good two way communication. The results have sometimes been hilarious! Let me give you some background. Niger is a French speaking country. In Galmi, most patients speak Hasua not French. And some patients speak another language altogether. I would be totally incapacitated without some kind of help translating, so it has been great to…Continue Reading “Lost in Translation”

“Bonjour doctor!” The guard greets me at the hospital gate as I weave my way around the groups of patients and relatives waiting around the outpatients department. Galmi Hospital is laid out like a giant letter “E” with three separate parallel wings. I head for the middle section, the Maternity ward. It’s a long, white-tiled corridor, with a high roof and patient rooms on each side. It feels new and clean. People with colourful outfits line the corridor on each side, waiting with their sick…Continue Reading “Galmi”

The ramshackle shops lining the red dirt streets of Niamey are all shuttered and quiet today. In the afternoon a savoury smell of roasted meat wafts over the city. Niger is celebrating Tabaski today, a Muslim festival known as Eid in many other parts of the world. We found our way through the happy chaos of Niamey airport, glad that our luggage wound up in the same place as we did. A few things are like home – it’s hot and humid, and there is…Continue Reading “Niamey”

Imagine that you are an Obstetric doctor working in rural West Africa, in a country that has been labelled the worst place in the world to be a woman. You need to come home to Australia for a much deserved break. But who will support the maternity work at the hospital while you are away? We’ve been supporting Dr Anne-Sophie, a GP Obstetrician working in Galmi Hospital in Niger. She has been there for about three years. Her letters are full of the most incredible…Continue Reading “Off to Niger”