Since 1999 Northumbria healthcare has worked in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Northern Tanzania to strengthen health services provided for the northern region of Tanzania. As we approach our 20th anniversary of the first fact finding visit by Professor Richard Walker, it is worth reflecting on all that has been achieved in this time.
Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our teams of volunteers, we have been able to deliver a programme that has achieved sustainable change.
Initially our training focused on physiotherapy, occupational therapy, wound management and clinical coding. Introducing ICD10 to KCMC enabled the hospital to report statistics on HIV and aids prevalence to the WHO, making them the first hospital in Tanzania to do so.
Moving forward we assisted in the development of an ultrasound service at the hospital and also an outreach service, by donating ultrasound machines decommissioned by the Trust to KCMC, and training staff to use them. This has helped save the lives of hundreds of women from remote rural communities, whose problems during pregnancy would have otherwise gone undetected.
As our work has grown so too has our partnership working with other healthcare organisations at home and abroad. Northumbria’s international link is highlighted as an example of best practice in Lord Crisps Improving Health at Home and Abroad How overseas volunteering from the NHS benefits the UK and the world 2013 and Programme Manager Brenda Longstaff has presented her research on International volunteering to the All Party Parliamentary group at Westminster. A toolkit to capture professional development from international project experience was subsequently published by Health Education England and is approved for use at appraisal or for revalidation.
Currently we are focused on developing day case surgery in Tanzania, having established laparoscopic surgery as a new health service for Tanzania over a 14 year period. Since 2010 our work has included improving burns care, having assisted in the development of Tanzania’s first dedicated Burns Unit at KCMC which opened in 2016.
To learn more about our work in Tanzania you can watch our film Novemba on YouTube, and visit our blog.