Former MRI consultant gets evidence into practice
Manchester Royal Infirmary Respiratory Physician Richard
Feinmann and his team in Uganda have won a prestigious award at the
British Medical Journal Group Awards. He was part of a Ugandan team
trialling a new technique to diagnose Tuberculosis (TB) resulting
in more people being treated.
Having spent 15 years at MRI, one would have forgiven Dr
Feinmann, 65, for putting his feet up after his retirement. Instead
he chose to volunteer at the International Hospital Kampula for a
year where encountered a continent that had 100,000 cases of TB. He
explained that after the AIDS epidemic in the early nineties, the
cases of TB rose due to the immune systems of HIV/AIDS sufferers
However, diagnostic tests are extremely expensive so along with
Target TB, he carried out research in to low cost intervention into
the diagnoses of TB in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Feinmann said: "This award is for all the Ugandan
volunteer workers and village health workers who worked so
hard with us to improve the lot of their community. We are very
pleased with the award."
The technique is known as Microscopic Observed Technique (MOT)
and the programme is now run by a team of Ugandan doctors, clinical
officers, TB nurses and an increasing number of trained volunteers.
This has led to increased rates of diagnosis and treatment of TB,
and opening the doors to better management of TB not only in Uganda
but across Sub-Saharan Africa.
When Dr Feinmann decided to volunteer overseas he hadn't
realised that people of his age could volunteer. He added: "One of
the things I want to stress is that people of my age when they
retire can volunteer. It is an extraordinary experience." In fact
he enjoyed his time in 2009 so much that he returned out there
He worked in the charity wing, Hope Ward, of the hospital which
is for people who can't afford healthcare as there are many people
in Uganda who don't have a lot of money. Therefore they are unable
to pay for what can be simple, but life-saving medication. Dr
Feinmann also worked alongside a Uganda physician who took over his
role when he returned to the UK.
Dr Feinmann said: "The difference between here and there in
healthcare is vast as 74% of diseases are curable conditions as
they do not have chronic diseases over there. 60% of the population
is under 18 and there is a life expectancy of just 51."
Notes to Editors:
- Manchester Royal Infirmary is part of Central Manchester
University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which is also made up of
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Royal Manchester Children's
Hospital, Saint Mary's Hospital, University Dental Hospital of
Manchester and Community Services.
- Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection. It is
spread through inhaling tiny droplets of saliva from the
coughs or sneezes of an infected person. TB mainly affects the
lungs. However, the infection can spread to many parts of the body,
including the bones and nervous system.
- Before antibiotics were introduced, TB was a major health
problem in England. Nowadays, the condition is much less common,
but more prevalent in developing countries.
- Target TB addresses the health, social and economic impact of
the global TB epidemic amongst vulnerable and marginalised groups.
They ensure people receive the right diagnosis, treatment and
support to regain their health and help to reduce the spread
of the disease. They train local people as community health
volunteers, giving them the skills to find and treat people with
- BMJ Group Awards recognise individuals, organisations &
demonstrating outstanding contributions across the health care