Working in partnership 

Since 1999 our charity has supported a groundbreaking project which sees our employees working in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in northern Tanzania.
 
During this time our teams have volunteered their time to travel to Tanzania to train their African counterparts, to enable them to provide a vastly improved medical environment for patients in their country. 
 
Initially that training focused on physiotherapy, occupational therapy, clinical coding and wound management. The level of support offered by our Trust expanded to include theatre nursing, sterile supplies, ultrasound and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
 
Our working relationship with KCMC has continued to grow and funding raised by the local community has enabled our surgeons to develop a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery service at KCMC, the first of its kind in Tanzania. 
 
This project was supported through the development of a two-way telecommunications link which allows real-time images and sounds to be transmitted between Tanzania and Hexham General Hospital. This enables surgeons in the Trust to see and hear their counterparts in Tanzania and give advice and support while the laparoscopic (keyhole) operations are taking place. During 2014 this innovative project was recognised nationally and was awarded the Karen Woo Surgical Team of the Year by the British Medical Journal.
 
The international link continues to gain momentum and has hosted medical students from Tanzania, undertaken ground breaking medical research, fundraised for HIV orphans and helped to establish school links between Tanzania and the UK.
 
Over the years of the link, Northumbria identified the need for a Burns Unit at KCMC after seeing so many patients come to the centre with severe and debilitating burns injuries. With medical care difficult to access and often too expensive for Tanzanian families to pay, people often don't receive the appropriate treatment for burns. The team is currently working with KCMC to improve prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of burns and to support the development of this new unit. 
 
If you would like to find out more about our work in Tanzania please contact brenda.longstaff@northumbria.nhs.uk.