Richard Nyemera (left) a biomedical engineer at Fort Portal Hospital in Uganda and Arafat Wakulira (an NHS UK Clinical Scientist and Quality Manager). Both were at Newham University Hospital where Nyemera came for practical placement on upgraded medical equipment repair and maintenance.
Richard Nyemera (left) and Arafat Wakulira(right) at Newham University Hospital, East London.
When Uganda’s only cancer radiotherapy machine broke down, after 21 years of service (moreover having been donated second hand in 1995) many Ugandans took to social media to express their concerns on the status of medical equipment in the public/government hospitals.
To many, the cancer machine’s last act was the expose into the overall condition of medical equipment in Uganda’s public/government hospital with resultant concern over the availability of local manpower (existing or otherwise) to ensure the medical equipment up and running.
One of the major questions that I constantly pondered in my mind then, was who the responsible professionals were for keeping the medical equipment up and running and what they had to do with the ‘grinding halt’ of such significant equipment as the cancer machine.
My knowledge on this matter has increased significantly since meeting up with two Ugandan biomedical professionals in the UK. One is Richard Nyemera, a biomedical engineer at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital (he has been in the position since 2001) in the western region of Uganda and UK based Ugandan Clinical Scientist and Quality Manager who has worked with the National Health Service (popularly called the NHS and which is the UK publicly funded national healthcare system)
The UK based Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) funded the project that enabled Wakulira travel to Uganda to build the capacity of Ugandan biomedical engineering in 10 Ugandan hospitals.
Richard Nyemera was awarded a commonwealth scholarship to spend six weeks of professional placement in a number of UK health institutions including the Clinical Engineering Department at Newham University in East London.
Link to video interview