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Tanzanian healthcare leaders celebrate Commonwealth partnership with Northumbria visit

Friday, 24 November, 2017
Tanzanian healthcare leaders celebrate Commonwealth partnership with Northumbria visit

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed leaders of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.


Dr Gileard Masenga, chief executive of KCMC, and Dr Chilonga Kondo, head of surgery, are visiting Northumbria Healthcare to meet with colleagues who have worked in partnership with KCMC and contributed to the development of healthcare in Tanzania.

Dr Masenga’s visit is the first by an executive director of KCMC since Professor John Shao in 2001.

For almost 20 years, Northumbria Healthcare has worked in collaboration with KCMC, providing training and support to healthcare professionals.

This has led to the introduction of new services which have revolutionised patient care, such as: laparoscopic surgery, the country’s first dedicated burns unit and an outreach ultrasound service for rural areas. For instance, the dedicated burns unit means people can receive life-saving care in an area of the country where people still cook on open fires.

Overall, the partnership – the subject of a film at the 2016 Global Health Film Festival in London – has trained more than 4,000 healthcare professionals which have included developing Tanzania’s only BSc physiotherapy course, an accredited short course in ultrasound and setting up a (medical) student exchange programme.

Brenda Longstaff, head of international partnerships at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “The realities of healthcare in Tanzania are a world away from what we have in the NHS and we are proud that our staff are so willing to give up their own time to help in this way.

“We know first-hand that it makes a real difference to people living in Tanzania. However, it’s not a one-way street; we have also been able to bring the benefit of these experiences back home.”

In recent weeks the trust has hosted Matthew Shayo, head of physiotherapy from KCMC, and Simon Mallya, head of occupational therapy, as part of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s professional fellowship scheme.

Liam Horgan, consultant laparoscopic surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare, added:

“In over a decade of practice, one of my proudest achievements as a surgeon has been to work with colleagues in Tanzania and help train them to deliver laparoscopic surgery.

“Since becoming involved in this collaboration, I have developed relationships with international colleagues that genuinely help me every single day in my role at Northumbria.

“I am incredibly excited to see how we can continue to grow together in the future.”

To find out more about Northumbria Healthcare’s partnership with KCMC, see here.