Jason Himmel, MD
Jason Himmel, MD
Radiology · Overland Park, KS

Interventional Radiology in Tanzania

April 6th
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Project Description

I plan to serve as volunteer faculty in support of Yale Radiology's mission to bring Interventional Radiology training to Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania. Presently there are no Interventional Radiologists in Tanzania, and the faculty of the Department of Radiology of Yale University have embarked on an ambitious collaboration with the national Tanzanian radiology residency program to train a handful of Tanzanian radiology residents in the art and science of Interventional Radiology. During a two week mission in April I will travel to Muhimbili National Hospital along with one trained IR nurse and one trained IR tech to share my 10+ years of expertise in IR with eager and committed young Tanzanian physicians.

Population Served

Broadly speaking, this project benefits all of the people of Tanzania who stand to gain important improvements in their medical care. This project is more specifically focused on the medical practitioners and institutions of Tanzania who will learn to apply and practice IR principles in a safe and effective manner, as well as how to integrate this service line into their healthcare delivery model and ultimately how to train future generations of physicians.

Expected Impact

The impact should be tremendous as the introduction of IR techniques will certainly improve medical outcomes and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with more invasive procedures. Additionally, and equally important, over the next few years these young residents will gain the skills necessary to train the next generation of IR's in Tanzania, allowing the country's healthcare system to transition to a sustainable pattern of highest level care for their patients.

Trip Photos & Recap

This was a two week service mission to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. The purpose of the trip was to train six radiology residents in Interventional Radiology. Currently there are no interventional radiologists or interventional radiology service available in this country of 46 million people. Through a collaborative effort spearheaded by Yale University Dept. of Radiology, we are building a three year curriculum to prepare the first class of Interventional Radiologists to provide these valuable paradigm changing services to the people of Tanzania.

Currently, the residents are training on percutaneous image guided biopsies (all were previously done as open surgical biopsies), abscess drain placement, nephrostomy tube placement and PTC (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography) for patients with biliary obstruction. The demand is tremendous as the large tertiary hospital in Dar Es Salaam sees many referrals of patients late stage disease from all over the country. Our small team of volunteers - myself, a nurse, and IR technologist, an US technologist and a medical researcher - were able to guide the residents in treatment of 35 patients during our two weeks on service. We also made considerable strides in training new IR technologists and IR nurses, as well as establishing important administrative and diplomatic relationships with key personnel throughout the institution.

This is a very valuable and rewarding mission that will undoubtedly elevate the quality of healthcare in Tanzania, and will likely spread throughout other African nations in the years to come!