Profiles & Patrons

Hilary Fenton-Harris (PAL Co-ordinator)

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I’ve been involved with the Poole Africa Link since the first Wau meeting in 2008 and the initial fact finding visit in 2009. My background of midwifery, primary and critical care nursing and hospital management have been a great asset in setting up and running the link and the work I’m involved in during my visits to Wau and Lira. Fundraising and giving talks about the link also play an important part of what I do.

I’ve been to Wau eight times and once to Lira. Every time is such an amazing experience and we have made many good friends both in hospitals, university and local community.
Sadly we can’t visit Wau at present due to the security situation but we continue to support Sr Gracy’s feeding programme in Wau and keep in regular contact with our friends in South Sudan while concentrating our visits and teaching efforts on Lira.

Dr Frankie Dormon (PAL medical lead and Trustee)

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After training as a doctor, I specialised in Anaesthetics and intensive Care. I have spent my career teaching junior doctors and nurses the importance of recognition and early management of the deteriorating patient.

The most effective interventions are often the simplest, but technology has driven the UK towards ever increasing complexity and cost. I am delighted to have been involved in helping the people of South Sudan and now to be working with the new Lira University in Uganda and its hospital. I hope that we are working effectively as critical friends to help the fledgling University to develop its training, initially of midwives and ultimately of medical students.

I relish the challenge of teaching the doctors, midwives and nurses the importance of doing the basic things effectively. We all believe in the importance of teaching rather than doing. ‘You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish and he will feed himself for the rest of his life’ The team also spend time at Lira Regional Referral Hospital, so that by working alongside our friends, we can understand their difficulties and our teaching can be relevant to their needs.

Dame Yvonne Moores (PAL Patron)

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Yvonne trained as a nurse and midwife and after holding senior clinical and managerial positions in Southampton, Winchester and London, then served as chief nursing officer for Wales, Scotland and England. She chaired the Global advisory group for WHO in Geneva from 1994-1998 and was Chair of Southampton University from 2000-2006.

She was a founder member of the Poole Africa Link and since going on the fact finding visit to Wau in 2009 has remained a very active PAL supporter, committed to raising the profile of the Link at every opportunity and supporting our fundraising events.

Dr. Antoinette McAulay (PAL Chair & Trustee)

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I have worked as a Consultant Paediatrician in Poole for 25 years having trained previously in Bristol and Manchester. As a consultant I have been heavily involved in medical student and junior doctor training, including being the paediatric tutor for the deanery, a senior examiner for MRCPCH, and an instructor for neonatal and paediatric life support courses.

My interest in the Wau project started when I was asked to join the first exploratory visit in April 2009. I have been Chairing the Poole Africa Link committee for the last few years and have been fortunate enough to return to Wau on several occasions to see some significant improvements in infrastructure and practice. More recently as the Link has been extended to Lira in Uganda, I have been involved in teaching paediatric skills in the University and Lira referral hospital and facilitating other team members to share their skills.

Ally Ahvee (Paediatric Nurse)

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I am a paediatric nurse who has worked in Poole for most of my paediatric career. Previously I worked in Nottingham and Southampton Hospitals, my experience in the field is very varied but my particular expertise lies in nursing critically ill children.

I have been to Wau twice now and my work with the Poole Africa Link has given me additional knowledge and skills in nursing children where the access to care, treatment and resources are limited.

Dr. Peter McEwan (Neonatology Consultant)

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I have worked as neonatal paediatrician in Poole Hospital for 11 years. I have been interested in African health issues for some time and spent seven months in Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa in 1997. I hold a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Liverpool. I have been part of several visits of Poole Africa Link teams to Wau in South Sudan and Lira in Northern Uganda and have made links with other teams trying to provide neonatal improvements in Lira.

As part of training paediatricians and midwives in Africa, it is important to update their skills in the care of new born babies at delivery and how best to support their breathing. Our practice in the UK has moved forward a lot since the advent of neonatal intensive care in the 1970’s, but a lot of what we do is still appropriate to care for African babies in hospitals where intensive care is not available.

Hilary Ashdown (Midwife)

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I currently work as a community midwife in the Purbeck area. I am fortunate to work with women and their families supporting them through pregnancy, birth and into parenthood. Education is an important part of my role empowering women to make informed choices and facilitating learning for midwifery students.

I became involved with PAL in 2013 having been inspired by other midwives and their work in Wau, South Sudan. My first visit to Wau was in Feb 2015.

In the United Kingdom we have regulated training, guided and supported practice and good facilities/equipment. In contrast in a low economic setting where resources, equipment and access to health care can be limited, education in early intervention and the management of obstetric emergencies can be life saving. My objective was therefore to pass some of my midwifery skills and knowledge gained over 29 years of practice to the midwives and students of Wau. I was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the students in their learning and their desire to provide good maternity care for the women and babies of South Sudan.

Abi Dixon (Registered General Nurse )

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I was privileged to go to Wau in February 2013 with the team. This was my first experience of sub Sarahan Afrcia and I found the visit humbling and amazingly rewarding. Much of my time was spent teaching basic adult and paediatric resuscitation skills to doctors, nurses and midwives and also the students.

Having started my own family now Im not likely to go again in the near future but I continue to be involved in fundraising.

Sally Loven (Midwife)

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I trained as a nurse initially before becoming a qualified midwife. I have worked at the maternity unit in Poole since 1990. I became involved with PAL in 2010 and have travelled to South Sudan on several occasions with various teams. Through the work of the Link I have met some very interesting people and had the privilege of teaching numerous aspects of midwifery education.

Janet Menhinick (Sonographer)

I am a sonographer currently working at Bournemouth Hospital .I first trained as a radiographer in Nottingham and then specialised in ultrasound when working in London. I have worked in various hospitals and have been scanning for over 20 years performing obstetric,gynae and general abdominal scans.

This will be my first trip to Africa and I am looking forward to offering my skills and sharing my knowledge with the midwives and doctors in Lira. Hopefully I can teach some basic scanning techniques and interpretation skills to improve antenatal care.

Miss Judy Mella (Dr Judy) General surgeon specializing in Breast surgery, PAL Trustee.

I have always had a passion for Africa and related health issues, so was delighted to join the PAL team back in 2010 and become involved. On an early visit to South Sudan I was impressed by the amount of breast cancers presenting very late in young women, and feel very strongly that breast cancer in Africa is a neglected issue. PAL have worked hard to get accredited status for fund applications, and UK aid have recently agreed to fund a PAL project to train health workers in breast assessment, including provision of ultrasound machines for the community and a new breast clinic. I hope this will set a precedent for further funded projects to run alongside the other work we do.
I have been a surgeon at Poole/Bournemouth for 23 years and have a masters in global health from King’s college London. I also work with UKMED.
The link has given so much to both Poole hospital volunteers and our wonderful African colleagues, and opened many doors and eyes.