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See one, Teach one, Do one
The Doctor2Doctor programme (D2D) was launched in 2006 by KLM, the University Medical Centre (VUmc) of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and KLM Health Services (KHS). The programme aims to improve the quality of healthcare in remote regions of the world. One of the key projects is a partnership with the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret (MTRH), Kenya, which has a referral zone of 12 million people!
Doctors, nurses and laboratory staff from the VUmc regularly travel to Eldoret to train colleagues on site. Their trips are made possible with the aid of Award Miles donated by members of KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty programme. This enables Doctor2Doctor to purchase tickets, substantially reducing the organisation’s travel costs.
The doctors in Eldoret welcome the knowledge shared by their colleagues from the Netherlands. “The methods we learn from the Dutch doctors improves our knowledge in leaps and bounds, allowing us to keep improving the healthcare we offer our patients,” says Dr Kasipoi of MTRH. During a visit undertaken in October 2015, the doctors jointly succeeded in completing four kidney transplants, with one patient receiving a kidney from her son. The training mainly focuses on fields such as paediatric oncology, nephrology (kidney diseases) and vascular surgery. A lot has changed since 2006. The mortality rate among children suffering from cancer has dropped from 95% to 65%, more patients with kidney disorders are receiving (improved) dialysis, local surgeons have learned new techniques and they are almost able to carry out kidney transplants without supervision! The support offered by D2D is fully based on the principle “See One, Teach One, Do One”.
Looking to the future
KLM Health Services (KHS) is a healthcare specialist in the field of work and travel. Initially, they supported the Doctor2Doctor programme with their international network of physicians and by ensuring proper travel preparation for visiting doctors, including vaccination and malaria prevention. At present, KHS is primarily focusing on the working conditions of the hospital staff. After engaging in talks with nursing staff and managers in Eldoret, it became clear that the hospital was struggling with one of the most common occupational risks in the field: back and neck complaints. Based on their observations, Noud Schel and Maaike Koning of KHS came up with a proposal to reduce the high incidence of back and neck complaints among staff.
Training the trainers
KLM Health Services suggested that the hospital should train ergonomics coaches. As a result, KHS will team up with the MTRH during the coming three years to develop a training programme designed to reduce the incidence of the most common complaints. The nursing staff and the clinical educators are very enthusiastic about this new project and are pleased with this new focus on medical staff. In short, the VUmc taught the teachers, and now KLM Health Services is training the trainers. Together, they are taking care of the caretakers!