The Mark Towriss Bursary Fund
Supporting GP training in Kenya
Remarkable progress: £17, 200 already raised!
Remarkably we are closing in on the £20k milestone with a magnificent £17, 200 already committed. Thanks to so many donors over the past year, who include Bottisham Scouts, Queen's Court home for the elderly, guests at a notable Lode Village birthday party, jam makers, generous colleagues and patients of Mark's. Our target of £30k is attainable!
The next major fund-raising event is a grand raffle for an amazing quilt made of African fabrics, which has been beautifully designed, stitched and donated by Diana Ridsdill -Smith. (Can be viewed at www.marktowrissbursary.com). You can buy tickets from both Bottisham and Burwell Surgeries and also from Bulbeck Post Office. We'll also have a stall at Reach Fair and maybe at other events when opportunities arise. Tickets will be £1 each and the draw will take place at Bottisham Surgery on 22nd June.
We are hoping to sell 7000 tickets! Please do buy! (And if you can help sell tickets in your workplace or to friends, call Ute for tickets).
What it means
In September 2011 a second Bursary scholar will begin his three-year family medicine (GP) training. Our first sponsored doctor, Dr Tembu, is now in his second year. He is hard-working and enthusiastic, with a special interest in diabetes. Last year he attended a medical conference in Copenhagen, from where he nearly missed his own wedding due to a delayed return home because of the volcanic ash cloud! In the current challenging financial situation, Kenyan hospitals are now unable to meet the cost of the doctor's salary they send away for GP training. For the next doctor the Bursary Fund will therefore be paying 75% of fees + 25% of annual salary (£12, 750 over three years). So together with Dr Tembu's 3-year fees of £5,250, we have pledged all the money raised to date. We hope the raffle will go a long way to supporting the third GP's training we plan for.
In December Dr Tembu met with two Cambridge GP educators, Professor Hibble and his wife Dr Tulinius, who visited the Kenyan district hospitals and faculty members involved in GP training. Both doctors are keen to support the new and tiny faculty of GPs which must now take on the training of others and encourage more doctors to consider taking up Family Medicine. It is a great privilege to have these experienced doctors and teachers involved with the Bursary Fund. In August Professor Hibble and Dr Tulinius plan to return to Kenya and conduct several seminars together with Kenyan GPs.
Addenbrookes Abroad, the Addenbrookes-based charity linking its staff with projects abroad, has agreed to host a page for this project on its website, and to become more closely involved. This is great news for the project In the same way that recession has induced the UK government to 'streamline'NHS funds, so the Kenyan government has reduced its health spending. It has stopped funding all postgraduate medical training: doctors must fund themselves to become surgeons, physicians and family doctors. This is particularly difficult for Kenyan family medicine as it is still in its infancy and not yet recognised as a mainstream specialty by the medical profession. In the UK we recognise the important role GPs play in our nation's health, particularly in rural environments. The broad skills of GPs are crucial for Kenya's predominantly rural population, facing the many health challenges they have and often finding themselves living a long way from their nearest hospital (approximately 80% of the population is rural; approximately 80% of doctors work in urban areas).
This fund is working to help establish a proper place for family medicine in Kenya. Firstly we are funding doctors to train in Family Medicine and secondly - through the Addenbrookes link -we are working on supporting existing GPs to further their skills and helping them to develop their teaching skills, so they can in turn effectively train more colleagues. There is much still to be achieved, but this project has already made a significant contribution. Mark would be very proud of what has already been achieved.
Please do support us in whatever way you can as we try to reduce the gap between the care you and I receive via our own medical practice and the handful of existing GPs available to serve the Kenyan people.