Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and outside of the main urban hubs, medical facilities can often be rudimentary and sparse. People often delay seeking medical treatment, leading to significant volumes of patients presenting with advanced, very severe, debilitating illnesses and injuries requiring a great deal of health and care intervention. This resulted in serious hospital overcrowding.
In 1999, Northumbria embarked on a long term and ground breaking project in Tanzania which is still going strong today. For almost twenty years we have worked in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in northern Tanzania, and have helped shape a dramatic transformation of the healthcare landscape across the region. KCMC has high patient volumes with severe, debilitating illnesses and injuries requiring significant health and care intervention. Each year, multi-disciplinary teams of expert NHS healthcare professionals have visited KCMC to undertake planned projects.
Northumbria sent teams to Tanzania to train their counterparts in a range of key disciplines. Their training support initially focused on physiotherapy, occupational therapy, clinical coding and wound management. By sharing their medical knowledge, capabilities and approaches, Northumbria found that they were able to transform healthcare for the benefit of rural Tanzanian communities. Following on from this initial success, their training support expanded into more complex areas such as model of care re-design, theatre nursing, sterile supplies, endoscopy and community ultrasound.
Northumbria also helped to establish a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery service at KCMC – the first of its kind in Tanzania. This project uses a two-way communications link, allowing surgeons in Northumbria to provide real time advice and support to surgeons carrying out laparoscopic surgery in Tanzania.
Northumbria is continually looking for ways to make a difference to Tanzanian communities, and are currently working with KCMC to improve the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of burns.
“All of the work undertaken by Northumbria has been jointly planned and agreed. They are mindful of constraints within our resources, and the pressures of local health issues that we operate within.
As partners they have been reliable, professional and resourceful, and my staff have enjoyed working with them. The work they have undertaken with us has made measurable improvements to health services offered by KCMC to the local health population.
I highly recommend Northumbria as a partner of choice for top quality professional training and successful delivery of complex health projects.”
– Dr. Gileard G Masenga, Executive Director
Over 4000 health professionals have received training and education from Northumbria’s teams.
By setting up laparoscopic surgery, KCMC has reduced patients’ length of stay in hospital, resulting in less overcrowding on wards, and reducing the rate of infection.
In 2014, the innovative laparoscopic surgery project received the Karen Woo Surgical Team of the Year award from the British Medical Journal.
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