A Glasgow consultant is training Malawi clinicians to carry out life-saving endoscopic treatment using equipment donated by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).
Dr Adrian Stanley, a consultant gastroenterologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at Glasgow University specialises in stopping upper gastrointestinal bleeding, a common cause of death in Malawi, where it is related to Schistosomiasis infection.
He is now preparing for a third visit to Malawi to continue teaching at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre.
Dr Stanley said: “This is a relatively simple but lifesaving treatment because there is a high mortality rate from bleeding related to this condition.
“However, once the bleeding is stopped and the cause treated, usually varices which are large blood vessel in the gullet, patients have very good outcomes.
“Malawi has a relatively young population with a life expectancy of 49 years, so it’s important that patients who are the breadwinners for their families get well and return to their farms and communities.
“In addition, we have taught the local clinicians to place endoscopic stents in patients with oesophageal cancer, which significantly alleviates their symptoms.”
After two previous visits, which involved training local clinicians in the main cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu, he is now preparing for a third visit to Malawi to continue teaching at Mzuzu Central Hospital, the main hospital in the north of the country.
In October last year Dr Stanley spent several days at Mzuzu Central Hospital training senior surgical clinicians and endoscopy nurses on training lists including many patients with gastrointestinal bleeding and others with oesophageal cancer.
He then travelled south to Blantyre to help run a UK approved three day therapeutic endoscopy training course for regional endoscopists.
The course was undertaken in conjunction with two Consultant colleagues from Liverpool and Belfast and was co-ordinated by the Malawi-Liverpool Welcome Trust, with support from the British Society of Gastroenterology.
Endoscopy equipment, no longer used by NHSGGC but still fully functional, had already been shipped out courtesy of Glasgow City Council.
Dr Stanley’s visit was funded by a grant from the Davies Fund of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow.
He continued: “Senior staff and hospital management told me that the donation of endoscopic equipment and the on-site training is greatly appreciated.
“They have already worked hard to improve both the local units and their service since my previous visits.
“In the future there are plans for further hands-on training of local clinicians and their attendance at other regional endoscopic basic skills and therapy courses.
“The ultimate aim is to train local staff to provide a fully functional and sustainable endoscopy service and I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in making this a reality.”
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Notes to Editors
Schistosomiasis is a type of infection caused by parasites that live in fresh water, such as rivers or lakes, in subtropical and tropical regions worldwide.
Symptoms can develop a few weeks after someone is infected by the parasite and include: a high temperature, muscle aches a skin rash and cough.
More serious symptoms can develop months – and possibly years – after infection, and include cystitis, blood in the urine, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain or cramps, vomiting blood and paralysis of the legs.
Pic: Adrian with some of the Malawian surgical clinicians and endoscopy nurses he helped to train.