In Malawi, limited access to radiology expertise and equipment makes it difficult for healthcare workers to get the right diagnosis for their patients and given them the proper care they desperately need.
Two years ago, we started our collaboration with the Kamuzu University of Health and Sciences in Malawi, then known as the College of Medicine. At the time, our main objective was to support the only radiologist at the University, Dr Karen Chetcuti, to deliver teaching in radiology to medical students and physiotherapists.
We are pleased to have delivered a range of remote lectures to 40 final year medical students and 20 physiotherapy students as part of this project.
As a result, interpretation and understanding of X-rays and scans by doctors and physiotherapists has improved, compared to before when they often had to do this without any formal teaching.
Through longstanding links with the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Centre (MLW), radiology volunteers have been supporting research projects at this institution for 12 years. It was partly this clear need for expert radiology support that drove the decision to found Worldwide Radiology.
In 2018, the first WWR research collaboration with MLW was made possible by a grant from the African Research Collaboration on Sepsis (ARCS). The aim of this programme is to improve the survival and quality of life of sepsis patients in Africa, researching and advocating for new and better ways to diagnose, treat and support patients with sepsis.
We have been a significant part of this project, supporting point of care ultrasound (POCUS) teaching and data collection for a pilot study on the use of POCUS in patients presenting with sepsis in Malawi, Gabon and Uganda. We will soon be publishing on the outcomes of this exciting study.
The Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Blantyre, under the Ministry of Health of Malawi, installed a new CT scanner last year. With this new technology now up and running, but with not enough radiologists to report all scans, we are excited to have recently started a collaboration with QECH to trial pro-bono remote reporting delivered by radiologists based in the UK, Singapore and Middle East. This trial is funded by the MLW Imaging Research budget. We are also partnering with Collective Minds who are providing their Cloud based PACS platform to facilitate this remote support.
While visiting Malawi in April 2022, our Co-Founders Dr Elizabeth Joekes and Chair of Trustees Dan Hayes met with the University, Wellcome Trust and hospital representatives to develop this new collaboration project.
From right to left: George Mubisa, Head of Radiology at QECH, Asiyatu Shaffie, CT technician (responsible for remote image sharing), Liz Joekes, Co-Founder and Director at Worldwide Radiology and Brian Ngwira, head of Clinical Research Support Unit at MLW.
Over the coming years we will be expanding our support for the remote reporting service and continue to assist with any research projects at Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust, where imaging input is required. We have some exciting research ideas lined up for radiographers, sonographers and trainee radiologists and hope to share them with you very shortly.
Since September 2022, our role at the University has expanded to educational support for the brand new Malawi Specialist Radiologist training programme. With volunteer teachers working both remotely and in-country, we will contribute to these future specialists gaining the skills and expertise required to provide an excellent radiology service to their patients.
By building radiology capacity in Malawi, we will directly and indirectly improve the diagnosis and treatment of thousands of patients each year.
Diagnostic Imaging Steering Committee at Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust, supported by Worldwide Radiology, discussing research projects and operations
More information on the Malawi Radiology Collaboration Project and to learn more about the latest updates on this work, please visit www.worldwideradiology.org/project-malawi.