Latvia 2016

Visit of Latvian doctors to CF Services at Birmingham Children’s Hospital: 3-7 October


Following the visit by Brandon Taylor and Dr Maya Desai from Birmingham Children’s Hospital to the international CF conference in Riga last year, a return visit was made to BCH by members of the Latvian team: Dr Elina Aleksejeva (CF consultant), Signe Kursite (CF nurse) and Arta Gaile (CF physiologist). The context of the visit was the efforts already made by CHI to help establish a neo-natal screening programme for all new-borns in Latvia.

The position prior to October 2016 was that little progress was being achieved to obtain funding through the Latvia Ministry of Health. However the Latvian delegation arrived in the UK with the good news that the recently appointed Minister of Health (formerly from the Riga hospital) had recently announced a funding stream for neo-natal screening in that country, beginning January 2017. The Birmingham visit therefore took place against this background and gave a very timely context for the study of advanced UK techniques in CF screening.


The timetable for the visit, constructed by Dr Desai and her team, in outline was as follows:

Tuesday 4 October am:  Meet and greet, and hospital tour followed by in-patient ward round

Tuesday 4 October pm: visits to the Birmingham physiology team, to the dietician team, to the            nursing team, and discussions with each

Wednesday 5 October am: Bronchoscopy demonstration by Dr Desai, meeting with CF and respiratory staff, followed by sweat-testing demonstration and practice for Dr Aleksejeva

Wednesday 5 October pm: CF clinics

Thursday 6 October am: CH clinics

Thursday 6 October pm: visit to new-born screening labs, new-born screening nursing team, and closing remarks by Dr Desai


In the context of the opportunity to establish neo-natal screening in Riga from early 2017 the Latvian delegation expressed unanimous pleasure and gratitude for the opportunity to discuss contemporary techniques for CF screening but also to practice relevant methods, as well as discuss nursing and physiotherapeutic techniques. They express tremendous gratitude to CHI and return to Riga full of optimism for the new programme, while being wary of the hard work involved in establishing effective methods for monitoring, record-keeping, and staffing of the new facility. 4. It remains open whether CHI will need to provide further funding assistance to Latvia. On the one hand there are positive indications that CHI’s original objective stands a good chance of success during the year 2017 and onwards. However it would be prudent to remain in close contact with the Latvia team to ensure their objectives and requirements are in fact being met. Dr Desai has generously made herself available for discussion both of general matters and particular cases. Meanwhile CHI should keep in communication with Dr Aleksejeva throughout the autumn and onwards and be ready to offer to support on a case by case basis, should the need arise.

Brandon Taylor 8 October 2016