My name is Dr. Ruth English and I am a consultant radiologist with a subspecialist interest in breast imaging in the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust in Oxford, UK. I have made four visits to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, my first being in February 2003, which is when I was introduced to Dr. Diefenthal and his wife.
My hospital in Oxford has had a voluntary link with KCMC since 2002 when Dr. Griff Fellows, a retired urological surgeon, realized the value of mutually supportive links between teaching establishments in developing countries and the western world. His vision was of a multidisciplinary link between the two organizations, through which, at the request of individual departments, ORH would endeavor to provide teaching and training within KCMC for one week each year and ongoing support, mostly via e-mail whenever possible throughout the year. During my first visit in 2004, the ORH group consisted of a pediatric surgeon, a pediatrician, two theatre nurses, an ENT surgeon, an audiologist and a urologist. Since then, a dentist, a medical physicist and an anesthetist have joined the group.
On my first day in 2004 I was met by Dr. Lyimo, the head of the department who has since retired, and was introduced to Dr. Diefenthal who gave me a very warm welcome and told me about the history of the department, the constraints under which they work, and their achievements and aspirations. He kindly allowed me to show my teaching material to the AMOs and residents and to spend time in the department learning first hand about imaging in a developing country. During that first visit and my three subsequent visits I have never failed to be impressed by Dr. Diefenthal’s enormous energy and dedication to the work of improving the educational opportunities of the young doctors and AMOs of Tanzania and by Mrs. Diefenthal’s loyalty and support to her husband as well as her work as a radiographer within the department. Since 2006, Dr. Diefenthal has started a digital imaging teaching collection which will be a significant addition to the teaching material available in the department.
Since my first visit, the link between KCMC and Oxford radiology has deepened. Three Oxford radiographers have made visits to support radiographic QA and technique and positioning training, and I have held sessions on techniques for barium and HSG procedures. This year, Dr. Diefenthal kindly handed over all the department formal teaching sessions to Dr. Gibson, the medical physicist, and myself, and we did joint sessions each afternoon covering between us aspects of radiation physics and a clinical topic. Dr. Kalambo, now the head of the department, also asked us to advise on the curriculum for the proposed Diploma in Radiography.
In furthering the collaboration, in 2005 and 2006 Dr. Diefenthal and I arranged for a resident to visit Oxford for a two-month attachment to my department for further study. I am hoping that another resident will come to Oxford in autumn this year.
It is my great hope that the collaboration between KCMC and Oxford will continue to be fruitful and a valuable experience for all involved in it and that ultimately all our patients will reap the benefit.Dr. Ruth English, Consultant Radiologist Oxford, UK