We use cookies to help us improve the website and your experience using it. You may delete and block all cookies from this site at any time. However, please note this may result in parts of the site no longer working correctly. If you continue without changing your settings we will assume you are happy to receive all cookies on this site.


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 being lowered.

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 again!

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 TB.
  • BMJ Group Awards recognise individuals, organisations & initiatives
    demonstrating outstanding contributions across the health care community