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About Urolink

(timeline, charter & activity)

Urolink's mission is ...

... to promote and encourage the provision of appropriate urological expertise and education worldwide, with particular emphasis on the materially disadvantaged. "

Timeline for the development of Urolink



An initial proposal was submitted by some members of BAUS to form a "Tropical Urology Society", either as a separate organisation, or as part of BAUS itself.


In 1985, BAUS proposed the establishment of formal links with the Association of Surgeons of East Africa (now incorporated into COSECSA).

During his term of office as President of BAUS, the late Professor John Blandy (pictured) invited suggestions for providing assistance to the "third world".


The late Professor Geoffrey Chisholm (pictured) facilitated a "Tropical / Third World Meeting" during his tenure as President of BAUS.

As a result of this meeting, it was agreed that BAUS members should be canvassed about the setting up of a new section which would be known as "Urolink".


A working party was formed to launch the new "society". Following this, the concept of Urolink was adopted, its constitution agreed, and its mission statement defined (see above) under the chairmanship of Mr Neville Harrison (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon in Brighton. A commentary of Neville's first experiences in Africa, and his part in the establishment of Urolink, can be heard in his "History of Urolink" podcast, recorded in March 2021 and available here.


Urolink became an official sub-Committee of BAUS.

It was agreed that at least one of the BAUS Trustees would attend all Urolink Committee meetings (of which there are usually two each year).


Lester Eshleman (pictured with Griff Fellows), the founder of the Urology Institute at the Kilamanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Moshi, Tanzania was awarded the prestigious BAUS St Paul’s Medal. This medal instituted by Mr Richard Turner Warwick is awarded, each year, to a distinguished colleague from overseas whose contributions to the Association in particular, and to UK urology in general, it wishes to honour.

Lester was a Mennonite missionary who trained as a surgeon, and then in urology, as the need became apparent. His contribution to Tanzanian urology is remembered biennially with a clinical meeting that continues to be held in his name; he also wrote a Textbook of Urology and Nephrology in Africa, the foreword to which, written by Neville Harrison, can be accessed here.

During 1998, Christopher Chapple (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Honorary Professor at University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, took over the Chair of Urolink from Neville Harrison.


Christine Evans (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl, North Wales took over the Chair of Urolink from Chris Chapple.

Christine has probably made more visits to more overseas urology units than any other clinician, and defined the standards that Urolink still uses to measure improvements in the units it supports. 


Steve Payne (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary, took over the Chair of Urolink from Christine Evans.

Steve has since visited urology units in sub-Saharan Africa, often with fellow UK urologists who specialise in the treatment of urethral strictures, to teach surgical principles and techniques related to pelvic fracture injuries.  


UROLINK: a model for working together in a changing world Author: Neville Harrison was published in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) as part of a 'Tropical' Urology supplement.


Urolink launched its first website with sponsorship from AstraZeneca.

To begin with, this was a "standalone" site, completely separate from, and ahead of, BAUS who did not have their own internet portal at that time!


Ru MacDonagh (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton took over the Chair of Urolink from Steve Payne.

Ru was instrumental in establishing the Health Improvement Project in Zanzibar (HIPZ), founded in 2006. Starting from a small project to renovate, equip and run a 36-bed cottage hospital in southern Zanzibar, a 10-year agreement was established in 2007 giving HIPZ management responsibility for including Makunduchi Hospital under its aegis, with the aim of improving the hospital facilities and clinical services. HIPZ now runs these hospitals at a day-to-day level.


Christine Evans was awarded The BAUS St Peter’s Medal for her tireless work in forming links with multiple centres across the developing world, and for developing urological and transplantation services there. The Citation for Christine, given by Steve Payne, can be viewed here.


Christine Evans submitted her final overseas report: a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan


Suzie Venn (pictured), Consultant Urological Surgeon in Chichester and Worthing took over the Chair of Urolink from Ru MacDonagh - briefly co-chairing with Philip Thomas, Consultant Urological Surgeon in Brighton at the start of her tenure. Suzie continues to occupy the Chair until the present day.

She has already organised working trips to sub-Saharan Africa, including a 2019 visit to KCMC for the 13th Jacob Lester Eschleman workshop.


Ru MacDonagh (pictured receiving the award from BAUS President, Duncan Summerton) was awarded the BAUS St Peter’s Medal. Ru’s efforts in developing a comprehensive medical - but especially obstetric - service in Zanzibar (HIPZ) were recognised by the award of this prestigious medal. The citation for Ru, given by John McGrath, can be viewed here.

Shekhar Biyani receives the Zenith Healthcare Special Recognition Award for his work in consolidating educational activities across a broad swathe of African countries.


Chandra Shekhar Biyani (pictured) receives the BAUS John Anderson medal for 2022 for his inspirational work with the Bootcamp concept.  Shekhar, who has a Masters in simulation training, evolved the model so that is has become established, and is now delivered locally, at a number of sites across Africa. Shekhar also assisted in the delivery of virtual simulated training courses during the 2020/21 Covid 19 pandemic, when face-to-face instruction had been impossible logistically. 


Which direction should Urolink take in the future? We're always interested to hear your views, so let us have any suggestions by e-mail

Key Areas of Urolink Activity

Links Encouraging the establishment of links between individual departments & organisations
Visits Encouraging & facilitating professional visits to work with colleagues overseas
Training Supporting appropriate urological training of surgeons in their countries and to help UK trainees experience surgery in low or middle-income countries (LMICs)
Equipment Assisting with the provision of books, journals, equipment and IT support where needed
Advice Providing remote mentoring to link centres
Advising BAUS Council on matters relating to LMICs
Advising urological associations abroad about training, professional development & examinations

Urolink's Basic Rights Charter

Urolink believes that all the supported units in sub-Saharan Africa (and smaller units elsewhere) should be able to achieve the following when presemnted with the conditions listed:

Retention of urine Early relief by urethral or suprapubic catheter
Developing endoscopic prostatic surgery
Haematuria Education and instigation of early diagnostic investigation
Urethral strictures Treatment by bouginage or visual urethrotomy, then self-catheterisation
Urethral trauma Safe initial management followed by referral for definitive treatment
Training in urethropasty, especially in the treatment of pelvic fracture strictures
Vesico-vaginal fistula Early surgical repair
Male circumcision Safe techniques
Penile cancer Early diagnosis & treatment

Sponsoring or Donating to Urolink

Donations from individuals are always gratefully received, as are any legacies or bequests to help Urolink in its work. Urolink's funds are held within the charitable status of the British Association of Urological Surgeons Ltd and are distributed by the agreement of the committee at its biannual meetings.

To become a sponsor of Urolink, or to make a donation, please email Hannah Doyle.

Should you have surplus or out-of-date equipment that may be of use in LMICs, then please contact Shekhar Biyani, the Urolink equipment lead.

Urolink is very grateful to the following organisations, or companies, who have sponsored us, or supported specific Urolink activities, over the years:

AstraZeneca, BAUS, BJUI, Boston Scientific & TUF Support for all Urolink activities & sponsorship of specific link centres and online developments
Olympus KeyMed & Karl Storz Donation of equipment to Urolink
BARD, BJUI, Karl Storz, SURG, TUF & Yamanouchi Donation of specific travel prizes and awards

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