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Newsletter: Autumn 2019

Welcome once again to our bi-annual newsletter. It has been another busy few months for the Trust, with a new donor coming on board, and another new Program in the offing, as well as volunteer placements in both Ethiopia and Uganda.

Shortly after our previous newsletter went out last April we were approached once again by CINOP Global, this time with a request that we send a volunteer out to Tegbareid Technical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to deliver some top-up training on the Training-the-Trainers program. In fact, they specifically asked for our veteran volunteer Ray Emslie, who has already been out on two successful placements to Tegbareid thus far, and Ray was happy to oblige. It appears that there may yet be further opportunities for volunteering in Ethiopia in the pipeline, but we are waiting on the details.

Ray Emslie with some of the trainee lecturers at Tegbareid.

Over the summer we also had the excellent news that the Britford Bridge Trust was going to pick up where the Expat Foundation left off with the funding of our work on the Kyambogo University BME practical training program. We are of course very grateful indeed to the Britford Bridge Trustees whose support means that we can continue to send a steady stream of volunteers to this ground-breaking BME training course in Uganda, now acknowledged by the Ugandan Ministry of Education as the gold standard in such courses in the country.

October/November saw three volunteers, two of them new to working with us, travel out to Uganda to take part in the Autumn Semester of practicals on the Diploma Program. Such has been its success, with 100% of graduates employed in either the Private or State sectors at the last count by the University, that numbers of students now stand at around 30 per year group. With these numbers it is essential that we keep a constant eye on having sufficient equipment for the students to work on, and we are as ever grateful to the various NHS Trusts who now and then send us items that we can use for teaching purposes. Our purpose-built lab is now much better organised and more secure thanks to the efforts of both Kyambogo University and our own volunteers and staff.

Volunteer Andy Barrow at work in our Kyambogo BME Lab.

In the heat of the summer (now a distant memory to all of us!) we began talks on a new partnership with THET (The Tropical Health Education Trust) for our volunteers to deliver in-service training to serving Biomedical Engineers in Zambia. The plan is to send out two volunteers at a time to Ndola Technical College (also called Nortec) to run practical sessions on specific items of equipment identified by the beneficiaries. This exciting new program will provide many more volunteering opportunities, so please watch out for our calls for volunteers in the coming months!

On 23rd September Martin Worster represented the Trust at the 5th meeting of ENMELC (a now annual gathering of the various European organisations who work in the field of Biomedical Engineering in Low Resource countries). This year it was held in Dublin at the gracious old rooms of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and was ably hosted by the Equals Initiative. Amongst the outputs from the meeting were plans to put together a booklet of low-tech ways to calibrate equipment in low-resource settings and invaluable up-dates on what the various organisations were currently doing to avoid unnecessary replication.

The other conference attended by Martin was the 2nd UNBEC (Ugandan National Biomedical Engineering Conference) in Kampala at the Hotel Africana in November, where he delivered one of the keynote speeches on the work of the Amalthea Trust in terms of building capacity in the Ugandan Health system.

Finally, the Trust has now received official confirmation from IPEM that our volunteers can use any time spent delivering practical sessions on our behalf as valid CPD hours, provided they can explain how the experience has improved their own practice. This represents a significant acknowledgement of how volunteering for the Amalthea Trust can bring benefits for the volunteer that go beyond just the experience of working in Africa.

So, do please keep your eyes out for the many volunteering opportunities that will be coming your way in the coming months, and feel free to contact us to ask whatever questions you may have. We are here to help!

The Amalthea Trust Team

November 2019.

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