The Urolink Committee meets twice a year, usually in the Spring and Autumn at the BAUS offices. The committee is responsible for the organisation, financial administration and running of Urolink. It is responsible, through its chair, for discussing Urolink strategy and progress with BAUS and the Executive Committee includes one of the BAUS Trustees. The committee is responsible for the evolution of Urolink's strategy, which continues unchanged since Urolink's inception in 1990.
At present, there are eleven committee members who represent a broad range of interests in the developing world, but principally in Africa. Other faculty members, or representatives of other groups, associations or from industry may be asked to attend committee meetings to help achieve the aims of Urolink.
Ru MacDonagh is a Consultant Urologist in Taunton and has been a member of the Urolink sub-committee since 1996. He is the Uro-Oncology Lead Clinician in his local hospital and has a strong research interest with publications on many topics including quality of life, prostate cancer and life expectancy.
Ru first worked in Africa in 1983, spending 4 months at the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombasa. Subsequently in 1994, as a Senior Registrar, he travelled to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania with his family and lived and worked there for 6 months. Since that period, he has established a working link with Mnazi Moja Hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where he has worked on many occasions with the Consultant Urologist/General Surgeon, Dr Mohammed Jiddawi. During this time, with assistance and support from Urolink, he has developed the Department of Urology in Zanzibar so that a full range of open and endoscopic procedures are now performed. In addition, he is responsible, through Urolink, for the collection and distribution of urological equipment to the developing world.
Ru has long been a strong supporter of the concept of twinning links and feels strongly that this is the best way of providing sustainable and mutual collaboration with the developing world.
John McGrath is Consultant Urological Surgeon in Exeter with a major commitment to working in Africa.
He has always had an interest in working in the developing world and this ambition was finally realised with help from Ru MacDonagh during his time as a trainee in Taunton. He took 3 months out of his training programme and worked in several hospitals in Northern Tanzania including KCMC and Selian Lutheran Hospital. His wife also travelled with him and taught at the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in KCMC. He has recently visited these centres again and is currently developing a new project in the village of Shighatini in the Northern Pare Mountains of Tanzania.
John is keen to involve other trainees in overseas experience and would like to help develop recognised pathways for trainees to do this within the context of their training programmes.
Tricia Hagan is BAUS Deputy Chief Executive and she is currently looking after the administration of Urolink.
Tricia joined BAUS in February 2007 having previously worked at the Royal College of Surgeons of England for 13 years, and the British Association of Plastic Surgeons for 3 years.
In addition to Urolink, Tricia also has specific responsibility for member services and communication, the administration of the 5 sub-specialty sections and the financial management of BAUS.
Phil Thomas trained at St Thomas's Hospital, qualifying in 1981, and was intent on pursuing a career in orthopaedics. Following a 6-month post with Brian Peeling in Newport, he 'saw the light'. Phil finished training on the Senior Registrar rotation between Brighton and Guy's, training in reconstructive surgery with Tony Mundy and in paediatric urology with Mike Joyce. Exposure to gender reassignment, with Mike Royle, in Brighton was to develop later in his career.
Phil's interest in working overseas was kindled by his student elective in Mombasa in 1980. A 3-month exchange in Cape Town with Professor Naude at the end of training provide a different experience. He grasped the opportunity offered by Neville Harrison to attend The 2nd Lester Eshleman / Urolink workshop in KCMC, in Tanzania, and has subsequently been invited as a faculty member for each of the subsequent 5 workshops; taking other urologists and trainees to support and learn. Visits to Uganda and Tanzania in other years have been stimulated by the friends made at the workshop. Five East African trainees have been to Brighton for a year's specialist training in Urology with Phil.
The East African Urological Community is hungry in its enthusiasm to embrace the mutual benefits of links with the UK and in particular is appreciative of the efforts of Urolink and BAUS to support their activities.
David Cranston is a Consultant Urological Surgeon in Oxford and University Lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Surgery.
His special interest is in renal cancer and high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) for the treatment of solid tumours. He heads the clinical HIFU unit in Oxford and has close research links with Chongqing in China.
He has been on the Urolink committee for the last 6 years and, in the past, has had close links with hospitals in East Africa. More recently he has been developing links with the Ludhiana Christian Medical Centre in North West India and well as his ongoing link with China.
George Fowlis is a Consultant Urological Surgeon at The North Middlesex University Hospital in London. His clinical interest is urological oncology, particularly prostate cancer. He is involved in the teaching and training of SpRs in the London deanery. He is currently President of the Section of Ethnic Health at the RSM.
George is also honorary consultant in the Department of Surgery, Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, Banjul, The Gambia. He goes out there several times a year with other British colleagues to teach and train. As well as standard urology, the major focus is on VVF repair and reconstructive surgery.
George is interested in cooperation with units abroad. He is currently researching prostate cancer genetics (PROGRES) in Africa with Serige Gueye, Professor of Urology at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal.
Nick Watkin trained in urology at the Royal Marsden and West London rotation and became a Consultant in South West London in 2000. He finished his training in Cape Town where he worked for Professor Johan Naude. It was his inspiration to teach reconstructive urology in general, and urethral surgery in particular, which shaped his future career in the UK. Nick now leads the reconstructive unit at St George’s which provides a regional service for adult genito-urethral surgery.
Working with Professor Gordon Williams encouraged him to visit Addis Ababa and teach urethral surgery and this led to his interest to support Urolink. Nick joined the committee in 2008 and runs the equipment store. Any consultant who has equipment surplus to requirements can contact Nick and he will arrange for it to be stored, logged and ultimately delivered to Urolink approved centres.
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Neil Haldar is a Consultant Urological Surgeon in Buckinghamshire. He has a specialist interest in urological cancer surgery and in particular laparoscopic surgery. He has a research interest in multimodal rapid recovery surgery. Neil is teaching programme director in the Oxford Deanery and is a committee member of the Oxford School of Surgery steering group and the Royal Society of Medicine Section of Urology.
Neil’s association with Urolink dates back to 2003 when, as a specialist registrar, he was awarded a Urolink travel award to visit KCMC in Tanzania with Mr Griff Fellows to further a longstanding relationship between the urology departments in Oxford and KCMC. He received a further travel award to re-visit as a newly appointed Consultant in 2006 and plans a further visit in October 2009.
In 2003, Neil was also awarded a BJUI/SIU Overseas Clinical Research Award for a 3 month overseas fellowship at the Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique. During this fellowship, he assisted Professor Johan Naude, a recently retired Professor of Urology from Cape Town in setting up the first urology department in Mozambique. Neil is keen to develop further links with institutions throughout the world and plans a visit to the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital in Nepal in April 2009 to support the development of their surgical oncology department.
Biral Patel is a Consultant Urological Surgeon in Gloucestershire based at the Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals. His association with Urolink dates back to 2002 when he was awarded a Urolink travel award. He grew up in Kenya, but did all his medical and surgical training in the UK.
He has, however, spent some time working in hospitals in Kenya and the Caribbean. His special interest lies in the management of urological cancers. His research interest includes the epidemiology of prostate cancer and urological diseases amongst African and Caribbean populations. He has always played an active role in the training of doctors, specialists and other allied health care professionals, and has links with the University of Bristol. He is a member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, European Association of Urology, Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Bristol Urological Institute.
Within the Urolink committee, Biral's major responsibility is to organise and administer the organisation's grants and awards. He is keen to develop further links with institutions throughout the world.
Shamim Khan is a Consultant Urological Surgeon at Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital & Honorary Senior Lecturer at the King's College, School of Medicine, London.
He graduated from Dow Medical University in Pakistan and trained in Pakistan, Ireland and UK. His principal interest is management of bladder cancer including robotic assisted surgery and reconstructive urology. Mr Khan is recognised for his surgical expertise in this field and has mentored several surgeons at local, national and international level. He is urological lead in undergraduate urology, joint lead for simulation training programme for the region and involved in establishing this nationally.
He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his international charity work in 2007.
Mr Khan has been actively involved in teaching and training in several developing countries ranging from basic to more complex reconstructive and minimally invasive surgery.
Jaimin Bhatt is a Urology Specialist Registrar in the Oxford deanery rotation. A Briton of Kenyan birth and Indian ancestry, Jaimin has often been called ‘a true child of the British Empire’ by his friends! He has strong links with East, Central and Southern Africa, and was awarded the Urolink travel award in 2008, when he joined Christine Evans on her historic, final Urolink trip to Zambia.
Other than urology, his other passion includes teaching and training. Jaimin has developed a model template for the first Urolink Basic Urology Skills workshop specifically relevant for Africa, which he successfully conducted in Zanzibar & Tanzania in May 2009.
Jaimin is keen to further the aims and objectives of Urolink and to raise the profile of British Urology on a global platform.
Hussain is the appointed SURG Liaison representative. He is currently a clinical research fellow in surgical andrology in the South West Thames region.
Hussain's passion to help with urology practice in the developing world started following his trip to RVTH, The Gambia, in April 2011.