North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust established a formal health link with Mbeya, Tanzania with the support of Vision 2020 and the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) in October 2007. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Trust and the Mbeya Referral Hospital on behalf of the Ministry of Health of Tanzania giving a five year commitment to the project.
A Link Project Group has been established in both hospitals to progress the exchanges which are proving to be immensely fruitful in supporting the hospital in Tanzania and passing on the expertise of staff working in the NHS. The link is supported by volunteers from hospital staff and is entirely funded through their fund-raising efforts.
In May 2008, a team from the Trust visited the hospital including Jim Methven, Nuclear Medicine Consultant, Charlotte Hipkin, Staff Nurse A & E at West Cumberland Hospitals and Susan Irving, a Sister in Ophthalmology West Cumberland Hospital. They spent two weeks with the staff identifying areas of improvement which could be made with minimal resource implications and also advice in change of practices that could be implemented.
Initial evaluation following this visit has been extremely positive from the reports received from Mbeya and change in practice has improved the health outcomes for the local population in an area that is one of the poorest in Africa.
Mr Soonu Verghese
Chairman – Link Project Group
North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
West Cumberland Hospital
Tel: 01946 693181
Consultant Radiologist, Director of Link
Mbeya Referral Hospital
P O Box 419
Tel: +255-25 2503456