Adele Trueman, 47, gave up her own annual leave and self-financed a trip toKenya, where she taught five radiographers how to use the single slice helical CT machine donated to the missionary-runKijabeHospital.
Adele, who has worked at Tameside Hospital for almost 25 years, was approached by a former Tameside GP. He and his wife have worked as missionaries inAfricafor more than 10 years and he thought her experience made her ideally suited to bringing her Kenyan counterparts up to speed.
Mum-of-two Adele, from Stalybridge, said: “We arrived, unsure whether the machine would even switch on let alone scan, having been sat dormant for eight weeks prior to our arrival. The machine soon sparked to life, much to our relief, and we soon had our first client.
“We were able to maximise resources there and adapted techniques so they were used as effectively as possible. We saw extremes of disease that lack of transport, lack of education, culture and lack of funds were to blame for, but we saw tremendous hope and confidence in the abilities of those who served there.”
Adele added: “Before I went, some of my colleagues said that I was brave for venturing out to such a remote place alone. However, during my time at Kijabe I was able to look bravery in the eye on many occasions.”
Patients who benefitted from the new scanner included a road traffic collision victim whose scan revealed multiple small bruises (heamorrhagic contusion) in his brain and an unstable spinal fracture, who previously would have had to pay for an hour-and-a-half long ambulance transfer toNairobiover bumpy, unmade roads. Another was a man, who had been struggling to breathe whose chest X-ray revealed a melon-sized mass invading his thoracic cavity and a two-year-old with a tumour in the maxillary sinus, which was extending down through the hard palette, cheek and neck who required a tracheostomy to breathe.
Adele said: “It was humbling to be part of such an awe inspiring team, at the top of their game, who were so grateful for the new CT service. They did so much and strived for great things with very little. I met some amazing selfless people who were able to make such a difference to those around them.
“It confirmed to me how fortunate we are in Tameside and the UKand how much we take for granted.”
She added: “I consider myself so blessed to have had the opportunity of venturing out on my own African adventure and I am thankful to all who made it possible. I believe the best health care should be available to all.”