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Newsletter: Summer 2018

A lot has happened since we were last in touch. The Kyambogo University BME Diploma goes from strength to strength and has now been adopted by the Ugandan Ministries of Health and Education as the yardstick for any such courses taking place in Uganda. All of this is in no small way due to the input of our volunteers (you) whose practical hands-on sessions have elevated the course above the rest. Rod McGregor (Warrington and Hatton NHS Trust) and Simeon Beaumont (East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust) went out to Kyambogo to do 2 weeks each on the Diploma course last October, and Ben Johnson (Freeman Hospital Newcastle Trust) and Satish Thakar (retired from Colchester Hospital) did the honours in March of this year, all of course ably helped and supported as ever by Jas Bilkhu, our Programme Manager.

In fact, such has been the success of the Diploma course at Kyambogo that this year they have begun offering a full bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering which will run alongside the Diploma course and will be similarly supported by our volunteers. This has doubled the number of volunteers required, and we have been heartened by the fact that we have already filled the places for the next semester this Autumn.

The Spring semester at Kyambogo was also attended by Elisabetta Frijia, our current intern from Italy, who not only did some teaching herself but also helped to support the volunteers. Elisabetta is with us for 6 months, paid for by a grant from The Expat Foundation, with a brief to finish the writing-up of the teaching notes and Power Point presentations used by our volunteers when teaching their practical sessions. This should prove to be an invaluable resource not only for our own volunteers but also for any other individuals working to improve the quality of Biomedical Engineering in Low Resource countries.

As well as the Kyambogo Programme we once again sent a volunteer, Dave Robinson (United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust), to Fortportal in the far West of Uganda to run two weeks of user training in medical devices for final year nurses and midwives at the Fortportal International Nursing School (FINS). This was Dave’s second time at FINS, and both he and the students had a very successful, time.

Dave Robinson at FINS with some of his students.

Martin Worster was out in Uganda in February meeting with various stakeholders and networking for some potential new programmes, including a request from the National Bloodbank in Uganda for Technician training in maintenance of basic laboratory equipment and a planned programme to bring CPD to Technicians and Engineers in Government hospitals across the country.

From 10th to 12th April Martin also represented the Amalthea Trust at the Geneva Health Forum, organised by the WHO, where the annual meeting of ENMELC (European Network for Medical Engineering in Low-income Countries) was taking place. The Trust is committed to working with other organisations in Europe to highlight the chronic shortage of Biomedical Engineers and Technicians in developing countries.

The various members of ENMELC at the meeting in Geneva:

As this is being written two of our most experienced volunteers, Ray Emslie and Satish Thakar, are preparing to fly to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where they will be teaching practical maintenance, fault finding and repair on a range of equipment. This is the second instalment of the Training-the-trainers programme which we started last summer under the auspices of the Dutch NGO CINOP Global, meaning that by the end of 2018 we will have sent out a total of 12 engineers on placements in East Africa. This means that we need more and more Biomedical Engineers to volunteer their time so that we can continue to develop the important work of supporting health care delivery in these countries through the sharing of experience. So if you haven’t yet volunteered but would like to find out more please visit our website at or get in touch by email at

The Amalthea Trust Team

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