Here following the secondment experience of Ifeoma in UK.
Needless to say, I was excited about being presented with such an opportunity to participate in a learning experience I had previously only dreamed about.
I had the honor of being involved in both work packages 3 and 4 which had the objectives of establishing laboratory diagnosis and quality assurance systems for population screening and setting up of SCD National prevention programmes as well as establishing treatment protocols for common complications- acute and chronic pain, stroke, infections, severe anaemia as well as transition from paediatric to adult care, health promotion strategies and nutrition.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet so many seasoned medical and health care professionals who shared their knowledge without hesitation. I attended several conferences and workshops including the Annual Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia conference (ASCAT), the International Pathology day celebration (IPD) at the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and the UK Forum for Haemoglobin Disorders (UKFHD) academic meeting amongst others. Meeting the current president of RCPath, Professor Jo Martin, was particularly special as she graciously shared time putting me through the use of the eCPD App and the learning opportunities it offers.
I spent a large chunk of my time in the Viapath laboratories at King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’s under the watchful gaze of two science giants, Chris Lambert and Yvonne Daniels who unraveled the mysteries behind investigating haemoglobinopathies and lots more. They have such wonderful teams and I feel blessed to have met them all.
My time with the clinical teams opened my eyes to different approaches to the clinical management of sickle cell disease and other haemoglobin disorders. The synchronicity within and between different services and the networking of ideas gave me many tips to implement on my return.
It wasn’t all work by the way. Our friends (and colleagues) Kelley and Raleen made sure we experienced true London entertainment with numerous lunches (my first fish n chips), a movie weekend and a trip to the Apollo Victoria theater to see artistry on stage.
Despite spending my first Christmas away from family in Nigeria, I was fine among my new friends and dare I say family.
As my time in the UK rapidly draws to a close, I am eager to return home but I’m also left a little torn about leaving the awesome people I met here. I am anxious to implement all I’ve learned here back home and keep the ARISE flag flying high.
Thanks everyone for this memorable experience.