Full Steam Ahead for
Tuesday 26th February 2013
Only 57 days into the New Year and the Amalthea Trust has
been busier than ever!
The call for new volunteers began again for the next 4
week teaching session in April. Responses to our recruitment email have been
flooding in and we’re very excited by the level of interest we’ve received. We
always need more help though and whilst we’re delighted to welcome back our
Amalthea veterans, we’re equally eager for enthusiastic new blood so if you’d
be interested in taking up a teaching position or finding out about other ways
you can help, fill in the form on our Contact Us page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In January we applied to the World Health Organisation’s
Medical Devices Department to find out if Amalthea and Kyambogo University are
eligible to be mentioned on their list of biomedical engineering training
courses (click here to see
Needless to say, having the WHO’s recognition would be a significant step for
both the Trust and the University and we’re awaiting their reply with baited
breath. Keep an eye on our Latest News page for updates.
Towards the end of January, Steven travelled to Uganda to
take part in a ten day collaborative project with the Ugandan Maternal HUB as
mentioned in our December update. It was touch and go whether he was going to
get there or not as his flight was cancelled due to snow but he made it in the
end! It was a highly successful couple of weeks with visits to Kawsus Hospital,
Mulago Hospital, and Hoima Referral Hospital and discussions with hospital
managers and medical engineers. The Trust and the HUB are now planning the next
step and a full report for this trip and more information on the project will
be available on the Amalthea Trust website shortly.
Steven is now back in the UK and on 28th January
he visited Kings College Hospital in London to give a presentation on the
projects being undertaken by the Trust. This was a great opportunity to talk to
individuals interested in volunteering and is something that our Project Manager
is looking to do more of in the near future. So if you think there are
engineers in your workplace who are interested in volunteering, please contact
Steven Daglish on the contact details above.
With so much going on already it seems that 2013 is going to
be another great year for Amalthea and we’re already very excited about next
Round Up of 2012
Fri 21st December 2012
2012 has been a busy year for Amalthea Trust. Our Project
Manager, Steven Daglish, started working full-time, which has allowed our
projects to develop to their full potential. Our partnership project with
Kyambogo University, Uganda is now going strong and has been running for just
over 1½ years with a total of 23 weeks (almost half a year!) spent in Uganda
developing the Diploma in Biomedical Engineering with the university. During this
time 9 engineers have travelled to Uganda to teach their specialised modules.
Over the last 12 months, with the help of our volunteer engineers, Amalthea
Trust has run 2 practical teaching sessions at Kyambogo University, one lasting
9 weeks and the other lasting 6 weeks.
During our teaching session in June / July, we were
invited to the first United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Biomedical Engineering Conference and Summer School which was held in Uganda.
The conference included professors and lecturers from 6 different African
countries, all of whom were developing – or had an interest in developing – a
BMET course. During the summer school, students from the different universities
had to present a project based on appropriate medical devices for an African
setting. All the students came up with interesting and thought provoking ideas
but a project from Kyambogo – a low cost neo-natal incubator which produced
heat from a series of light-bulbs – won the prize for “Greatest Economical
Potential”. Congratulations to all the students for their hard work.
The conference was a great opportunity to showcase
Kyambogo University and Amalthea Trust to other countries within Africa and, as
a result, the University has been chosen as a suitable venue to hold the East
Africa Biomedical Engineering Training program, a 3 year program to spread,
implement and improve BMET courses in the participating countries. Thanks to
the hard work of our volunteers, Amalthea Trust has also been chosen to provide
the technician BME training part of the project. We hope to get this project up
and running by the end of 2013 but keep watching our website for news.
As part of our expanding work in Uganda, we are now
working with the Ugandan Maternal HUB on a THET funded project to trial an
asset management system within a number of the country's hospitals. This two
year project will start in January when the project manager, the HUB's
long-term volunteer engineer, and other representatives from the project will
be travelling to Uganda to initially trial the system in a small number of
In early December, the first set of students graduated
with a Diploma in Biomedical Engineering. These 16 are the first set of
students to graduate in Uganda with a formal qualification in Biomedical
Engineering. We wish them lots of luck in the future and hope they make a big
impact in the hospitals and companies which employ them. We will be keeping a
record of their future success so keep an eye on our website for more details.
The students are already having a big effect through the
creation of their own Biomedical Engineering company, however. In September,
they were given a contract to fix a mortuary within Jinja Hospital that had
been broken for several months. The Ugandan Ministry of Health were looking at
spending around $10,000 to replace the whole room, but the company was able to
fix it for just under $1,000! A big saving for the hospital and the Ministry of
We hope the next 12 months will be just as successful as
the last 12!
Opening of East African Biomedical Engineering Summer School
Thu 9 August 2012
On Monday 6th August, the first East African Biomedical Engineering Summer School opened, being hosted between Kyambogo University and Mackerere University.
The summer school gives students and lecturers from different African countries (including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zambia), the chance to collaborate and discuss many issues about biomedical engineering and science.
As part of the summer school, the students were expected to present a biomedical project which they were to work on before presenting on Monday. Out of over 20 different projects, the two projects from Kyambogo University came 1st and 2nd!
Congratulations must go to the students on their projects: design of a low cost pre-term incubator and an easy to use ECG monitor.
If you would like any more information on the summer school or the students projects, please feel free to contact us.
Successful Trip to Mbarara Hospital!
Mon 16 July 2012
On Wednesday 4th July we had our first course trip to Mbarara National Referral Hospital, in Western Uganda.
We were warmly welcomed by both medical and technical staff and were given a tour around the new ward being constructed, which will contain 8 theatres, a modern IC unit, and a fully-furnished X-Ray department.
After our tour of the hospital, we set the students to work fixing an ultrasound machine that was condemned as “unfixable” in 2006, and an X-Ray machine which hasn’t been fully working since it was installed in 2008.
On both machines, the students excelled, making both fully functional; a task which no one in the hospital thought possible! They then performed a full service and safety check on each, making sure that they were safe for use.
As a result of their hard work, Mbarara Hospital now has an extra ultrasound and X-Ray machine in use, reducing waiting times and increasing the amount of patients that can be seen. A good day’s work!
In the future we will be looking to work more closely with the hospital.
We would also like to thank our current volunteer engineer Satish Thaker, who, through his training, made it possible for the students to fix and service the X-Ray machine.
Back in Uganda
Mon 18 June 2012
Our project manager, Steven Daglish is happy to be back in Uganda for the next 8 week teaching session at Kyambogo University. We would like to thank our volunteer engineer, Jas Bilku, who will be staying for the first two weeks to teach the “Diagnostic Ultrasound” module. This module will cover everything that is necessary for the students to maintain, repair, and service medical ultrasound equipment and will also teach users how to operate them safely.
There was a warm welcome from both students and staff members and we hope to continue expanding on the great work that the University is doing in Uganda.
For more information, or if you are interested in helping our project, please contact us on 01666 822577.
Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda
20 December 2011
On 13 December, Steven Daglish returned from Uganda after teaching Biomedical Engineering at Kyambogo University for 8 weeks. We're delighted to have him back and have very much enjoyed hearing all about his time out there. You can read his final two reports below.
Now he is back, the Amalthea Trust will be holding a conference in the New Year and the team will be occupied with organising this over the next few months as well as considering what our new projects might be.
We thank you for your interest in the Kyambogo University Project and hope you will continue to provide your support when Steven goes back to Uganda to begin a new 8 week course at the University in June.
Please keep checking the website for news on the conference, upcoming projects, and any developments on Kyambogo University. Minutes from Amalthea Trust team meetings can be found on our Latest News page.
Reports: Week 6, Weeks 7 and 8
Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda
3 November 2011
Currently, there is a severe shortage of medical engineers in Uganda and the Amalthea Trust, Kyambogo University in Kampala, and the Ugandan Department of Health are all collaborating in a unique attempt to address this issue through education and training.
The course, which is being offered in conjunction with the University’s Electrical Engineering department, is, to our knowledge, the only one of its kind. It was born as a result of a collaboration between the Amalthea Trust and John Okounzi, an electrical engineer who instigated an engineering course at the University because he felt it was important to cultivate a new generation of biomedical engineers within Uganda. As John had limited knowledge in the field of Medical engineering, he realised he would need to bring in experts to lecture, teach and train others, not only to enter the profession, but in order to teach future students. This is where the Amalthea Trust was able to help and a three phase plan was put into action.
The first phase was to refurbish two classrooms and the Amalthea Trust provided funding which supplied them with air conditioning and adapted them for teaching and carrying out equipment maintenance. Phase two was to stock these classrooms with the necessary training and test equipment which the Trust also arranged and paid for. The third and final phase is to provide the course with ongoing financial support, teaching and to develop the curriculum. Having successfully completed the first couple of stages, we are now happily teaching approximately twenty students in Uganda and mean to continue this effort for the years to come.
The course uses elements of the Engineering World Health Biomedical Technicians Training Programme developed by the Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory and is a component of the University’s current bachelors degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. It combines tuition in the theory behind the subject with practical sessions which are run by Kyambogo University lecturers and voluntary Amalthea Trust medical engineers respectively. Two rooms at the University have been renovated to serve as a laboratory and workshop, however, Mulago Hospital is also lending its support to the course by allowing various practical lessons to take place on its premises; the students are therefore given the opportunity to work in a real healthcare facility. As none of the lecturers are trained or practising biomedical engineers, we are also providing training for them.
The aims of the course are:
· To give students a good understanding of human physiology and anatomy
· To teach students the basic functions and operations of medical equipment
· To provide guidance and a good insight into healthcare technology management
· To enable students to identify electrical safety and standards associated with medical devices
· To develop students’ understanding of specific medical equipment, its uses and applications
· To teach repair, maintenance and calibration techniques
· To provide an understanding of technical specification and use of a service manual
Steven Daglish is the project co-ordinator on behalf of the Amalthea Trust and is staying in Uganda for an initial eight week period. He is continuously joined by visiting voluntary NHS engineers from the UK for a minimum of two weeks each and they give lectures in subjects based on their area of expertise. These subjects relate to medical equipment and systems and healthcare equipment management issues.
At the end of their stay, the engineers will compose a report regarding the outcome of the course, levels of attendance and any suggestions they have for improving the workshops, which the Trust will use to make sure the students are constantly receiving the best training on offer. Steven’s reports will be added to the Amalthea Trust website regularly to keep you up to date with everything that’s happening during this project; we hope that you feel as excited when reading them as we did!
Finally, thanks must be given to Dr Keita ‘Ike’ Ikedo, engineer and co-director of the American charity, Global Partnership in Anaesthesia and Surgery. He has been heavily involved with trying to maintain medical equipment in Mulago hospital and has been invaluable in helping us get our project off the ground.
The Amalthea Trust would also like to thank Rigel for the kind donation of five 266 Plus electrical safety testers.
Remember to keep checking the website for further developments and we thank you for your interest and support.
Reports: Week 1 Weeks 2 and 3 Week 4 Week 5
Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
Progress has been made at the hospital where charity members from GPAS www.globalPAS.org, have worked to set up a hospital equipment inventory and with funds provided by the Amalthea Trust, a new Medical Engineering workshop has been established and kitted out with basic test equipment.
A course in Biomedical Engineering is in the process of being formed at a local University which has created much local interest. Two trustees have visited and met with the Senior lecture at Kyambogo University and are very keen to give the charity's support in establishing this course.
New Contacts in Dar-es-Salaam
The trustees have been approached by another group who are currently working on a project in Dar-es-Salaam. They are keen to explore the possiblity of setting up an engineering workshop in their hospital and are currently seeing if they can find an area of the hospital which would be suitable.
A visit is planned later in the year to check on the feasibility of this project.
Your help is crucial to the smooth operation of the Amalthea Trust.