Work placements at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH)
The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) is a public hospital in Banjul, capital city of The Gambia. The hospital was founded under British colonial rule in 1853 and was known as the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) until 2013. The abbreviation RVTH is still widely used.
To reduce dependence on foreign doctors, the EFSTH became a teaching hospital in the 1990s. University of The Gambia (UTG) is responsible for a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Science (BSC) there. Nonetheless, the hospital still receives doctors from Cuba, Nigeria, the UK and Egypt and remains heavily dependent on foreign donors to ensure essential healthcare.
Patients can go to the EFSTH for tertiary healthcare, but have to provide their own food. They also have to pay for any medication prescribed themselves. There is often a shortage of blood in the blood bank, which means that family members or acquaintances with the right blood type are actively sought in an emergency. Consequently, family members often stay close to the hospital. The city link focuses on sharing knowledge between AZ Oostende - Damiaan and the EFSTH. The head of the infection control department did a work placement in Ostend and Flemish student nurses or medical students can do their work placements at the EFSTH. Agreements were concluded with ZOWE and the Vesalius Institute to that end. In total, the EFSTH received almost 50 work placement students for periods averaging two to three months.
Students are not only immersed in a different culture, but also in a professional environment where needs are often high. The difference in the quality of healthcare between The Gambia and Belgium is vast. Students learn to deal with limited resources and, thanks to their knowledge and skills, make a positive contribution to the working environment at the EFSTH.