Dr. Janika Briegel

On assignment as a doctor in the Central African Republic

Name

Janika Briegel

Age

32 years old

Profession

Doctor - internal medicine / emergency medicine

Country of operation

Central African Republic

Duration of mission

7 months

My everyday life in the project

The day began daily at 7:30 in the morning with an early meeting, followed by rounds on all wards, after which we performed the scheduled ultrasound exams. One of our main tasks in the project was the planning and implementation of further education and training of the staff on site. Since there was no anesthesia department before and the surgeons performed the anesthesia of the patients themselves, we decided to train a team of 6 employees. In the afternoons, we conducted a total of 60 hours of advanced training, focusing on emergency care, resuscitation training, general and spinal anesthesia, and the care and transport of critically ill patients requiring monitoring.
The training sessions took place in the afternoons, but the team was also involved in emergency care and anesthesia in the daily hospital routine. In order to train the new team, we were also always present during the surgeries. Finally, there was a practical and written examination, as well as a graduation ceremony with the presentation of a certificate.
Since we had recently received a ventilator in the project as a donation during the Corona pandemic, but the staff had no previous experience with ventilators, we then conducted a 2nd training session of 20 hours on mask ventilation therapy with the same team.
In addition to advanced training, we were also responsible for emergency care of critically ill patients. Pediatric emergencies were most common, usually severe malaria cases with persistent seizures, respiratory illness requiring oxygen, or severe gastrointestinal infections, so we spent many hours in the pediatric unit’s monitoring room.
Otherwise, we were responsible for drawing up guidelines and improving structures and processes.

My spare time at the project:

Most of my free time was spent on research, as well as preparations for the lectures and training sessions. To compensate, we went jogging regularly with a few colleagues from the hospital and did yoga almost daily. At Christmas and at the end of our deployment, we made a very nice trip to the waterfalls in Boali.

I particularly apreciated:

Collaboration with the team and motivation of employees within the framework of the training series. Das Personal vor Ort war sehr freundlich und offen für neue Ideen. It was also nice to work with the Cap Anamur team, but above all I appreciated the fact that there were two of us in the project, so that we could constantly exchange ideas and also get through difficult situations together.

I especcially missed:

I missed my family and friends the most.
On some days I would have liked to have the equipment of a German clinic, because you quickly reach the limits of diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities and have to accept that many patients who could be treated well in Germany unfortunately die here.

My plans for the future:

Initially, I plan on additional training in intensive care medicine. However, I can well imagine returning to the project or a similar project in the future.

My best memories of my time on the project:

There were very many beautiful moments and memories. I was most pleased with the moments when the trained anesthesia and emergency team worked independently and one could observe the progress, e.g. the performance of the first own spinal anesthesia, etc.

The group’s graduation ceremony was also a very special moment.

I also have many fond memories of patients, especially in pediatrics, who had survived despite very poor odds. Which is why it was even more gratifying when they can be discharged in a healthy condition.

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