Medical Physics collaboration to improve cancer treatment in Ghana

A collaboration between UCL and the two cancer centres of Ghana, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to train radiotherapists in West Africa is one of five projects to receive funding from the Tropical Health and Education Trust under the Health Partnership Scheme. The grant was announced today by Lord Nigel Crisp at the International Conference on Appropriate Healthcare Technologies for Developing Countries, hosted by the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET).

The country of Ghana is only currently able to treat only a few percent of all patients needing radiotherapy for cancer each year, due to a lack of trained personnel and equipment. These limited resources are also used to support neighbouring countries.

The sole hospital engineering currently employed in Ghana, pictured working on equipment

The sole hospital engineer currently employed in Ghana

This funding will enable the ‘paRTner’ collaboration, led by UCL, to support the training of local people at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in the maintenance, management and use of radiotherapy equipment. They aim to improve the number of people treated and the quality of treatment received.

Staff from the Department of UCL Medical Physics & Bioengineering, UCLH and the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, will be training personnel in the engineering, physics and clinical usage of radiotherapy equipment on site in Accra and Kumasi, Ghana, and additionally providing ongoing remote clinical support from the UK. UCL and NHS specialists have volunteered their time and expertise at no cost.

Project Co-ordinator, Dr Kate Ricketts, UCL Departmental of Medical Physics, said:

“Our project addresses a key need in this region, and will allow local people to develop the skills to address this growing problem for their population, ultimately saving lives and preventing suffering.”

 

Commenting on the scheme, the International Development Minister, Lynne Featherstone said:

“We are delighted to support the Health Partnership Scheme. Through the scheme, British medical expertise is used to help give developing countries the vital skills needed to improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people. The programme will train 13,000 overseas healthcare workers dealing with issues from trauma care to maternal health. Helping to improve the maintenance and repair of medical equipment is an important part of the programme and will save money and lives.”

Announcing the successful grants funded by THET, Lord Nigel Crisp said:

“These projects are a wonderful demonstration of the passion and creativity which so many people are bringing to providing the vital medical equipment that is needed by people around the world. The UK is making an important contribution but can also learn from some of the examples elsewhere.”

 

You can read more about this work and get involved on the UCL paRTner website.

The Health Partnership Scheme is funded by:

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