Julia Böckmann is a German Medical Student who has come to Kiwoko Hospital through GMMT (German Medical Mission Team). She is coming to the end of her 6-month placement at Kiwoko Hospital. In this blog post she reflects on her experiences in Kiwoko Hospital Operating Theatres.

Julia Bockmann assisting Dr Peter in Theatre

The Kiwoko Hospital operating theatre is very different to anything that I’ve seen in Europe. In the two rooms we mainly have Caesarean Sections – from my estimation, it must be about 15 a week. Otherwise, there are other gynaecological operations, general surgical cases and sometimes also urology and orthopaedic cases.

Our 4 anaesthetic nurses are mastering the spinal anaesthesia, but for bigger operations there is a ventilation machine and the possibility to let patients sleep in a way that is not so different to our European standard.

In the beginning I was balancing between amazement and scepticism about the way they manage hygiene, which is quite different to Germany. We scrub in with soap, that is attached to the tap with help of a magnet and a soda bottle metal lid.

Soap attached to the tap

To administer drugs, they just stick a needle and syringe in the giving set. Gowns, towels, sheets and almost everything (besides gauze pieces and gloves) are reusable. After the operation, the worn gown of the surgeon is used as a blanket to cover the patient.

But even though it is different, I believe they manage the resources they have well, and I love that they ask for God’s guidance and protection in prayer almost before every surgery. As a student I enjoy assisting operations, especially Caesarean Sections.

The biggest challenge in the beginning was that the surgical assistant is also supposed to pass the instruments to the surgeon. I’m glad it didn’t take me too long to learn their names!


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