Rural round up : Rural health success stories feature an Amanda Howe poem.

Photo: courtesy of Amanda Howe

Have you heard about the "Rural Health Stories" set up by a partnership of WONCA Rural South Asia (WoRSA) and the World Rural Medicine Students Network (WRMSN)? The project “Rural Health Stories” creates a space to tell a story - about ways to care, or funny stories, patient experiences, doctor experiences, failures, mishaps. WONCA News has previously featured one story by Dr Sanam Shah of Pakistan.

This month we note that WONCA’s President Elect, Prof Amanda Howe has submitted a very lovely poem "Human Kindness".

My friend walked down the lane
Was entranced by the green wood,
And the wet lushness,
And the long horizons,

And lost himself amid this English fervour.
He asked a working man for help,
Who sent him home.

We laughed, and ate,
And were glad of our time together.

I thanked my neighbour later -
He asked about my friend
“Nigeria” I answered.
He nodded wisely -
“I didn’t think ‘e cum from round ‘ere”….

I would be glad
If more dark strangers met such kindness
In this land. 

Amanda describes her practice: “My area of practice is in the edge of a city, with poor people and some better off, but the region (Norfolk) is very rural by English standards. Our students go to practices where the nearest hospital can be 40km away. The epidemiology is typical, mostly NCDs of lifestyle and ageing, though with farming accidents commoner because of the local employment in that area. When I first came to Norfolk the non-white population was only 3% though it has risen in recent years., especially in the university and hospital areas in the city. As my poem suggests, foreigners can still be a novelty in some parts. I thought of this story when the UK voted to leave the EU, much of which was led by the press and rightwing politicians promoting the fear of immigration-hence the last part of my poem.”

Read more stories here.


To participate on the project "Rural Health Stories" the story should include SOAR: situation, obstacles, actions, resolution and also TLC: timing, location and character. However this could be flexible and respect different cultural stories and ways to tell it to others. It should be something that remarkable and inspired you in rural medicine and even family medicine or some story that you think it is valuable for share it with someone. Also, it could be in video or writing ones (or both!).

Guideline for submission are found on the blog

Do send your stories to Pratyush Kumar or Mayara Floss