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UK Urologists Working Abroad

Establishing a New Link

The Urolink faculty welcomes discussion about the logistics of setting up a new link, and encourages collaboration with other interested parties to share resources and experience.

Before any attempt to set up a potential link, Urolink recommends that you look at the reference information below for guidance.

A request from the link centre for specific assistance is essential for every visit, and there must be clear aims and objectives as to what you will be trying to achieve with your visit.

Useful Publications

Twinning: the future for sustainable collaboration. BJUI (2002); 89: 13-17
MacDonagh R, Jiddawi M, Parry V full article
Current challenges to urological training in sub-Saharan Africa. BJUI (2015); 116: 316-317
Campain NJ, MacDonagh RP, Mteta KA, McGrath JS on behalf of BAUS Urolink ... read full article
Global surgery – how much of the burden is urological? BJUI (2015); 116: 314-316
Campain NJ, MacDonagh RP, Mteta KA, McGrath JS on behalf of BAUS Urolink ... read full article
Over the horizon – future innovations in global urology. BJUI (2015); 116: 318-320
Campain NJ, MacDonagh RP, Mteta KA, McGrath JS on behalf of BAUS Urolink ... read full article
Urolink – a changing face: learning from experience, responding to change and rediscovering our roots. BJUI (2010); 105: 157-159
McGrath JS, MacDonagh RP ... read full article
Urolink - benefits for trainees from both sides. BJUI (2002); 89: 11-12
Gujral S, Nassanga R ... read full article
Urolink in sub-Saharan Africa. BJUI (2002); 89: 6-10
Evans CM ... read full article
UROLINK: a model for working together in a changing world. BJUI (2002); 89: 1-5
Harrison NV ... read full article
Guidelines for surgeons on establishing projects in low-income countries. World J Surg (2013); 37: 1203-1207
Grimes CE, Maraka J, Kingsnorth AN, Darko R, Samkange CA, Lane RH ... read abstract 
Lancet Commisision on Global Surgery ... visit website
THET: In Our Mutual Interest report ... visit website to download the report

Logistics & Planning Your Visit

As a general rule, the more communication and dialogue takes place between you and the local team before your visit, the more productive and efficient your visit is likely to be.

Taking a UK trainee with you is encouraged because it has significant benefits:

  • it helps with teaching of local trainees;
  • it facilitates audit/quality improvement activity; and
  • it enables development of ongoing professional relationships

Urolink is keen to encourage longitudinal links with visit centres, because they enable ongoing educational activity. Ideally, Urolink would hope to see visit reports which contain statements of achievement similar to those below:

“ ... the Urolink team met with local surgeons & agreed to help with development of the curriculum & support examinations (COSECSA) ..."

" ... Consultants in the department are now performing regular TURP & collecting audit data to assess complications, length of stay etc ... trainees are performing flexible cystoscopy lists in the outpatient clinic (Zambia) ... "

" ... initial assessment of the service identified the need for TURP training performed under the supervision of the Urolink faculty (Zambia) ..."


Out Of Programme Experience (OOPE)

UK urology trainees may wish to spend a longer period of time abroad - this can be taken as an "OOPE".

You must seek approval for this from both your Deanery and from your Programme Director; you should allow plenty of time for any deliberations which may be needed. Your OOPE is more likely to be successful if you set clear aims and objectives in advance of your departure. Further information about OOPEs (and returning from them) can be found in the following links:


Website Links on Working Abroad

International Volunteers in Urology encourages volunteers but has a different sphere of activity from Urolink, with connections mostly in South America.

The World Health Organisation has been involved in overseeing the evolution of global public health for man years and has recently published a report outlining the progress made over the decade that Dr Margaret Chan has served as its Director-General.
The Global Anaesthesia, Surgery & Obstetric Collaboration (GASOC) aims "to build a cohesive advocacy movement for global surgery amongst trainees across the surgical specialities" and allows trainees across all three specialities to share educational resources, research & publications.
The G4 Alliance is a surgical, obstetric, trauma & anaesthetic care collaboration which exists "to increase political priority and mobilise resources to help provide safe surgical care for patients in need".

The Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET) forges partnerships with healthcare experts to deliver targeted training programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Read Lord Crisp's 2007 report on "Global Health Partnerships" and the 2016 report on "Lessons learnt from monitoring & evaluation experiences in Zambia".

The Royal College of Surgeons has a section devoted to international affairs and delivers an internationally-renowned programme of activities and collaborations, including an active International Surgical Training Programme (ISTP).

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has extensive and highly detailed information on many aspects of working abroad in its pages on Global Health Policies.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has a strong collaborative programme with COSECSA  created to develop surgical skills in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland (ASGBI) is keen to foster links with developing countries who have less well-developed surgical training and healthcare provision.

Their International Development Committee encourages international contacts to help individuals and groups organise visits abroad.

The College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa is an independent body that fosters postgraduate education in surgery and provides surgical training throughout the region of East, Central and Southern Africa. It operates in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The West African College of Surgeons represents surgeons in 17 west African countries, and aims to establish advanced skills, simulation centres and educational resource facilities within the subregion.
The Pan African Urological Surgeons Association  aims to bring the highest standards of urological clinical care through education, research and collaboration, to the urology patient on the continent of Africa.
The Société Internationale d'Urologie Foundation (FSIU)created in 1998, has educational scholarships, provides teaching fellowships, conducts research and advances medical education in urology in the developing world. In the last 10 years, more than 200 urologists have received a total of $1 million in funding.
The International Collaboration for Essential Surgery premise is that surgery should - and can - be safe, accessible, and affordable to people worldwide regardless of income or geography even in limited resource settings. Often, this requires only a modest investment in infrastructure.
Global HELP (Health Education Low-Cost Publications) has produced "Primary Surgery" which is the most used reference text for surgeons in poor-resource settings. It is aimed at those with only basic surgical experience, and has advice about what to avoid, as well as what to do if things go wrong.
The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery believes that universal access to safe, affordable, surgical and anesthetic care - when needed - saves lives, prevents disability and promotes economic growth.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health has produced this report. It shows that the UK plays a leading role in each sector: its global contribution being second only to the US, which it surpasses in some areas.

The Department of HealthDepartment of International Development (DFID) and NHS have collaborated to produce a report on "Engaging in Global Health" which establishes a framework for voluntary engagement in global health by the UK health sector.

DFID has also authored the "Health Partnership Scheme – Evaluation Synthesis Report".


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