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Newsletter: Autumn 2018

When the Summer newsletter came out we had two volunteers at Tegbareid Technical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, working on a training-the-trainers programme under the auspices of the Dutch NGO CINOP Global. Satish Thaker and Ray Emslie managed to deliver several weeks of training on fault finding, repair and maintenance for a wide range of equipment, completing the work begun the previous summer by Ray and Ian Crummey. Their work was very well received indeed by both the College and the attendees, and both volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The photo shows Ray with a group of the training attendees.

One positive spin-off from the training sessions was that CINOP have asked us to join them in a bid for a large five-year project in Ethiopia involving the construction of new hospitals and the training of no less than 500 new Biomedical Engineers to address the country’s current shortfall. It is backed by the German Development Bank as part of a large bilateral project between the governments of Germany and Ethiopia. Furthermore, Ray has been asked to be the lead Engineer on the project. We are all keeping our fingers crossed on this one!

Back home our intern, Elisabetta Frijia, has been working on developing our line of teaching materials. She has been standardising the materials into extensive PowerPoint presentations together with teaching notes and student handouts, and has now finished the modules on Ultrasound, X-Ray, Medical Gases, Patient Monitoring, Defibrillators and Infusion Devices. Some of our experienced volunteers have been reviewing these materials and making loads of useful contributions, which are very much appreciated by Elisabetta. Ahe was out in Uganda in the Spring semester and did a bot of teaching herself, so she is well versed in the levels required and the local conditions. Each of these modules takes between one and two weeks to deliver and should hopefully become a useful resource for colleges everywhere trying to train new BMEs when we release them through our website. This has been made possible through a grant from the Expat Foundation, who have been supporting our work at Kyambogo University for several years now.

In fact, whilst we are on the topic of funding, the Expat Foundation have also just provided us with a new grant towards delivering the practical modules of Kyambogo University’s new 3-year bachelor’s degree course in Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering. As I write this Jas Bilkhu, our Programme Manager for Uganda, is out in Kampala overseeing the work of six volunteers over the course of six weeks as both courses are being taught in parallel with one volunteer for each. This is proving to be a bit of a logistical challenge, but Jas tells me that three weeks in all is going well and the volunteers have been doing an excellent job (as ever). We’ll let you know how it all went in more detail in the next Newsletter (including photos!).

In the meantime, we have been trying to further improve the experience of volunteering by putting together information packs for volunteers before they go out on placement. These include practical tips and advice as well as more general information. Feedback so far has been positive, but any suggestions for improvement are very welcome.

In amongst all this we were very sad to say farewell to Alex Sanctuary, who has left us to relocate to the bright lights of the capital. We wish him very success in his new career and offer our heartfelt and grateful thanks for all that he has done on behalf of the Amalthea Trust over the years. Much of what he was doing, particularly in the area of social media, is being picked up by Oliver Miller, so an equally heartfelt welcome and thanks to him, and to Yvonne Folliard who has replaced Clarissa Galloway in Marketing – her first contribution to our work is the new poster which is now hopefully sitting on your Departmental notice boards.

That’s all for now, and we look forward to being in touch with the Winter Newsletter in a few more months’ time. In the meantime, please visit our website to find out more about our work at

With best wishes from all of us at the Amalthea Trust.

October 2018

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