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The University of Southampton
Inspire Medicine - Southampton

Roz Henderson

Roz Henderson

My project experience:

My project was undoubtedly an experience I will never forget. Having always had a strong interest in obstetrics, global health and a real desire to immerse myself in a healthcare system completely unlike the one I know; I ended up deciding to create my own project that would allow me to carry out work both in the UK and abroad.

After what seemed like a never-ending train of emails, phone calls, form-filling and hair-pulling, I managed to set up a project comparing the occurrence and management of obstetric complications between Portsmouth, UK and Pretoria, South Africa. Before I knew it my first six weeks of data collection in the UK had flown by, and suddenly I was on a plane to South Africa.

Arriving alone in a foreign country with little idea of what to expect is daunting to say the least, and it was fair to say that life in Pretoria definitely the change of scene I’d been searching for. The people, the place, the pace of life, were all a far cry from life back in Southampton.

The next challenge came in carrying out my actual research. The first hurdle was enrolling myself at the University of Pretoria (as it turns out, a little more complicated than expected when they all think you’re just an elective student). Second was getting myself to Kalafong Hospital, a large government hospital on the outskirts of the city – something made a little easier once I’d found a car to trundle myself around in, as public transport was somewhat of a mystery and walking alone as a white woman simply wasn’t allowed.

Now to the research. At first simply getting my head around the logistics took some time, but I found endless sources of help in the form of the doctors working in the obstetrics department, and after a period of initial confusion, I’d finally set myself up in the postnatal ward, able to carry out the work that I needed.

Overall, my research project was a truly incredible experience. Yes, at some points it was also incredibly hard, and made me face some challenges I would never have faced had I stayed back in the UK. However I was able to gain new experience, new knowledge and a new perspective on healthcare, and is something I will never forget.

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