My colleague, Dr. Isabel Newton from UCSD, and myself will travel with the Road2IR team to Tanzania in May 2023 for a 2 week training trip.
Interventional Radiology (IR) provides image-guided, minimally-invasive therapeutic and diagnostic procedures for a wide range of medical conditions. This includes treatment options for traumatic injuries, cancer, infection, and vascular disease. Despite the well established benefits of IR, many low and middle-income countries lack access to interventional procedures. This means that millions of people around the world lack access to absolutely essential and life-saving treatment options.
The Road2IR began their mission to bring training and expertise locally to subsaharan countries in 2018, beginning in Tanzania at Muhimbili national Hospital. Since then 10 attending have been trained and new educational programs have been created for certification. Further, the road map has now expanded to Rwanda and Uganda.
Training by international physicians occurs every month for 2 weeks and my colleague andI will be the attending leading the training in May 2023. This further establishes local physicians and staff to provide services and expertise to their patients.
Providing the ability and training to local physicians and staff to provide minimally invasive, sometimes life saving procedures to their patient population helps the population rise. For example. many women suffer from uterine fibroids, benign tumors in the uterus that can cause severe bleeding, anemia, and cramping resulting in lost work and school. For women to receive that treatment and be able to continue life without missing work and school helps raise women to be self supporting in countries where education for women and girls and opportunities may lacking. Participating in consistent training for the local physicians and staff to provide this high level of care independently helps every person seeking helathcare.
My colleague and will continue to support Road2IR as they expand outside of Tanzania by continuing to help them fundraise and obtain grants to fund their mission. One way we will do this is by producing a webisode called Without a Scalpel from our organization, the Interventional Initiative, also a non profit, highlighting the Road2IR work.
“Dr. Isabel Newton and myself as well as the Interventional Initiative team embarked on a mission to volunteer in the Interventional Radiology department of Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and film Episode 5 of our docuseries, Without a Scalpel.
Road2IR has created the first IR training program in Tanzania, and it was our privilege to help advance the education of its trainees. This endeavor has not only deepened our commitment to providing healthcare access to underserved areas but has also enriched our understanding of the power of interventional radiology. The journey began with eager anticipation as our team members gathered at the airport, armed with a strong sense of purpose and a genuine desire to make a difference. Upon arriving at Muhimbili National Hospital, we were greeted with warmth and enthusiasm by the hospital staff, who were excited to collaborate with us. The spirit of camaraderie and shared passion for healthcare was evident from the outset. We brought with us suitcases filed with the generous donations of IR supplies from Boston Scientific. During our time at Muhimbili National Hospital, we worked alongside local IR attendings and trainees to provide interventional radiology services to patients in need. Biliary drainages, abscess drainages, fistulograms, permcath placements and biopsies were among the most common procedures. We witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that minimally invasive, image-guided procedures can have on patients, particularly those with limited access to specialized healthcare. Beyond the clinical setting, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Tanzanian culture and forge meaningful connections with our IR colleagues and Road2IR. We appreciated the perseverance, resilience and spirit of our Tanzanian IR colleagues and their trainees, further inspiring our commitment to advancing healthcare access worldwide. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Muhimbili National Hospital, Executive Director Prof Janabi, and especially the IR Department for their warm welcome and support throughout our stay. Their dedication to serving their community is truly commendable, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such an exceptional institution. What they and Road2IR have accomplished in 6 years is nothing short of a miracle. The journey to volunteer, teach and film in Muhimbili National Hospital IR has reinforced our mission to expand interventional radiology services globally and provide healthcare access to those who need it most. We are more determined than ever to continue our efforts and make a lasting impact in the lives of underserved communities around the world. We are grateful to Doximity for funding our travel for this impactful endeavor.”