The Exeter team with colleagues in Wollega.

Ethiopian medical conference celebrates Exeter link

The University of Exeter Medical School is co-hosting an international knowledge-sharing conference with its partner in Ethiopia on April 15.

One hundred and fifty doctors and medical students from across Ethiopia are attending the one-day international event on Medical Education in the 21st Century which has been organised by Truro-based clinicians in collaboration with the University of Wollega’s Medical School situated in western Ethiopia, 200 miles from Addis Ababa.

The conference has been has been supported by a grant from the Tropical Health and Education Trust, and is designed to share clinical ideas and provide networking opportunities. It has been co-organised and hosted by Dr Julie Thacker, Clinical Sub Dean with support from Dr Ian Fussell, Community Sub Dean at the University of Exeter Medical School, and Professor Rob Marshall, who initiated the link, celebrates a two-year relationship between the two medical schools which has seen a number of teaching collaborations and exchanges.

Three medical students from the University of Exeter will be at the conference with Dr Thacker, Dr Bill Stableforth, a consultant from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Dr Ian Coutts, a retired respiratory physician. The day will include talks, workshops and posters produced by students and researchers from both institutions. The conference will showcase a clinical skills simulation lab that Exeter clinicians have helped to set up with the Wollega Medical School Team and will include a workshop on OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) and a medical humanities workshop led by Dr Thacker.

As well as regular visits to Wollega over the last two years and shared teaching, the Exeter team has helped set up a research project between the university and the Red Cross. This will help address the development of a water supply in nearby villages and the evaluation will be led by the public health department in Wollega.

“It is a massive achievement to have put this conference together,” said Dr Fussell, “and is a reflection of the good working relationship that has been developed between the two medical schools. It also marks the graduation of the first cohort of students that we have been teaching from Wollega, who are now beginning to work in the local hospital. It is particularly ground-breaking that are we have been able to introduce the idea and value of medical humanities into an Ethiopian Medical School and I am very proud of all the doctors and students who have contributed.”

Dr Eba Mijena, Vice President of Wollega University, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Exeter Medical School on the conference. We are looking forward to a long happy relationship of working together and learning together in the future.”

There will be a fund raising event with a hog roast and local band on Saturday April 30 to raise money for the medical school collaboration. Please visit the Facebook page for details of this and pictures and updates on the project.

Date: 15 April 2016

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