HEALTH workers in Northumberland have travelled to Africa to pass on their life-saving skills.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs local hospitals, has been helping to develop health services in Tanzania for ten years by providing training and support.
And now it has been awarded a grant by UK Aid for volunteers to travel to the north of the country and help set up its first dedicated burns unit at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC).
Currently, burns patients in Tanzania are cared for on general surgical wards where there is a high risk of cross-infection.
The Northumbria team of five specialists will be led by Helen Boon and will deliver teaching and practical training to staff in preparation for the opening of the new unit, as well as extend their work to villages so that burns can be treated sufficiently to prepare patients for the long journey to hospital.
Lead Clinician for the Northumbria health link, Professor Richard Walker, said: “We have been working in partnership with KCMC for more than ten years. During this time we have been able to make real differences to health services by combining ideas and energy. The burns project offers a unique opportunity to show the real impact that UK volunteers can have in benefiting healthcare services for the poor.”
KCMC Director of Nursing Redempta Mamseri has spent five weeks visiting hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside, funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, as part of the project. She has particularly been learning about infection control procedures.
She said: “I have worked closely with staff at Northumbria Healthcare over the last decade and welcomed many of them to KCMC so it has been an excellent opportunity to come here.”