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BL students support peers in Ethiopia

Wednesday 30 October 2013

A group of students at Barts and The London have been awarded more than £4,000 from the QM Annual Fund to drive forward work to support a new medical school in Ethiopia. The collaboration between BL and the Aksum University Medical School (AUMS) in Ethiopia got underway last year thanks to a start-up grant from The Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET). To date academics from the school have carried out a scoping visit to Aksum and delivered training in problem-based learning (PBL).

Ethiopia has a severe shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas. While in the UK there is approximately one doctor to every 400 patients, the figure for Ethiopia is one to 36,000.

To try and improve the situation, Ethiopia’s Federal Ministries of Health and Education launched 13 new medical schools last year, including AUMS.

The student committee of the Aksum-Barts Partnership has been set up to support those students at BL who wish to be a part of this work.  The group has been awarded £4,135.00 by the QMUL Foundation as part of the disbursement of gifts given by Barts and The London alumni to the Barts and The London Student Opportunities Fund.

The grant will be used to support several projects over the coming year including sending three medical students with expertise in leadership to AUMS to run two-weeks of intensive peer-led training.

Samson Williams, lead student co-ordinator for the student committee said:  “AUMS has only existed since Feburary 2012 and the students do not yet have a union or any student-run organisations. The peer-training will aim to empower Aksum students to develop their own organisations so they can better advocate for themselves and influence and create change their medical school and our partnership.

“In addition to this, we will be using the money to develop shared educational and cultural projects involving staff and students from both BL and AUMS. This will hopefully include online web-seminars facilitated by clinical staff, ethical electives training for 4th and 5th year students and a pen-friendship scheme which will be easily accessible to all students who wish to be involved.”

Work towards securing the grant was led by Samson Williams, Esther Tillson, Katy Kuhrt, Kat Fitch, Germander Soothill, Ellie Turner-Moss and Cam Stocks.

Any students who want to find out more or get involved can email aksumbartspartnership@gmail.com

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