The Road2IR program has been actively involved in international medicine, and the current endeavor in Uganda is focused on addressing a critical shortage of radiologists and interventional radiologists in the country. What makes this shortage even more pressing is the high incidence of postpartum hemorrhage and road-traffic related morbidity in Uganda, both of which result in significant mortality rates. The availability of advanced clinical imaging and interventional radiology (IR) services can be the difference between life and death in these cases. Local healthcare professionals in Kampala recognize this need but face formidable challenges in addressing it.
The primary objectives of our mission in Uganda are:
1. Establishing a Residency Program: We aim to develop a radiology and interventional radiology residency program, creating a sustainable pipeline of skilled medical professionals within the country.
2. Teaching Radiology and IR: Our team will provide essential training and didactics, empowering them with the knowledge and skills required to deliver quality radiology and interventional radiology services.
3. Establishing and Running an IR Clinic
In Uganda, like many other developing countries, there are often significant disparities in healthcare access, and there may be limited access to advanced medical treatments, including interventional radiology procedures. Uganda has around 50 radiologists, which is roughly one radiologist for every million people. At the same time, Uganda has one of the worst records of both post-partum hemorrhage and road-traffic related morbidity in Africa. Interventional radiology plays a role in treating both of these situations and providing life-saving procedures. Cancer is also a growing health concern in many parts of Africa, including Uganda. Interventional radiology plays a crucial role in both diagnosis and treatment of cancer, such as image-guided biopsies and minimally invasive treatments. Cancer patients in Kampala who lack access to these services would benefit greatly.
The expected impact of an interventional radiology mission trip can be multifactorial, including both immediate and long-term benefits.
1. Improved Patient Outcomes: One of the primary goals of our interventional radiology mission trip is to provide necessary medical care to underserved populations. This can include minimally invasive diagnostic procedures as well as life-saving interventions in cases of serious conditions.
2. Capacity Building: By training local healthcare professionals during the mission trip in both interventional and diagnostic radiology, there is a long-term impact on healthcare infrastructure. They can continue to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services, thereby expanding access to care in the region.
Regarding how learnings carry forward after returning from an interventional radiology mission trip:
1. Continued Education: My participation in this mission trip can allow me to learn and refine my skills in a different hospital setting and with limitations on resources.
2. Mentorship and Training: I can help become a mentor for the upcoming generation of residents interested in Road2IR and potentially expand the impact of the mission.
3. Advocacy: I can have first-hand experience and better advocate for ongoing support for Road2IR. This might involve fundraising, lobbying for policy changes, or raising awareness about healthcare needs.
4. Research and Data Analysis: Any data collected during the mission trip can be used for research and analysis. Research findings can inform medical practices in the region of Kampala but also globally.
5. Cultural Sensitivity: I can apply cultural understanding to my daily practice, ensuring that I can provide care that is sensitive to the needs and beliefs of my patients, regardless of where they are from.
My purpose of my trip to Kampala, Uganda was to benefit both the interventional radiology residents at Mulago Hospital and the patients they serve. As a senior resident in interventional radiology from the United States, my primary role was that of a teacher and mentor, aiming to contribute to the professional development of the local residents while enhancing patient care.
One of the key benefits of my presence at Mulago Hospital was the opportunity to share my knowledge through lectures and interactive sessions. I conducted comprehensive lectures covering various aspects of interventional radiology, including procedural techniques and case examples. The positive feedback received from the residents indicated that the information provided was valuable and well-received.
In addition to formal lectures, I actively engaged with the residents on the basic work-up for consults and provided a framework for understanding patient evaluation in interventional radiology and the decision-making process. Through this collaborative approach, the residents gained insights into the nuances of interventional radiology, from diagnosis to treatment planning. During actual interventional procedures, I played a supportive role by providing guidance. The exchange of ideas and experiences in the clinical setting contributed to the enhancement of their skills and confidence.
The cultural exchange during my stay fostered a collaborative spirit among the interventional radiology community. This exchange of perspectives and ideas between their practices and those in the United States enriched the overall learning experience and promoted a sense of camaraderie.