Global Remote and Rural Healthcare Conference

Posted in: Uncategorised, by Bridge2Aid Team, on 11th October 2021 | 0 comments

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2020 threw us and other charities many challenges, not the least of which was being unable to take part in visits overseas or attend face-to face meetings and conferences. In November 2020 we teamed up with ProDentalCPD and ran a 2-day virtual conference, titled ‘Global Remote and Rural Healthcare – How Can We Do It Better?’, during which speakers from all over the world gave talks and presentations about their particular interests in this field.

The event was well received and it was decided, following discussions and feedback, that there was scope to make the conference an annual event as well as hosting quarterly short webinars to continue the debate and discussion on this subject. Our goal is to provide a platform for people working in the Remote, Rural and Humanitarian sectors from across the world to come and share their work, challenges and solutions, learn from each other, and find out what else is happening across this vast discipline.

This year the conference will take place on Thursday 18th November, running from 9am until 9pm GMT. There will be opportunities for Q&A at the end of each live session. For those who register in advance, but are unable to attend the live streams for the conference, recordings will be made available for a limited time. The conference is completely FREE with the option to  make a small donation to Bridge2Aid should you wish to do so.


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(All Session Times are GMT)

Session 1

Shaenna Loughnane 09.00 – 09.15  : Welcome from Shaenna Lougnane, C.E.O Bridge2Aid

Shaenna first volunteered with Bridge2Aid in 2006 and officially joined the Bridge2Aid as UK Operation Director 2011. Shaenna brings a wealth of knowledge to the role of CEO and also experience as a dental practice owner and BDA Good Practice assessor. She recently graduated from CASS Business School with an MSC in NGO Management – gaining a distinction.




Maasai Molar09.15 – 09.45 : Dr Lawrence Nkoya & Rachel England – Maasi Molar – Creating a Partnership

Maasai Molar was established in 2018 to provide oral healthcare in the Aitong region of Kenya. Through local partnerships and collaboration, they established a permanent dental clinic in 2021. This webinar presents the challenges in global oral health and the Maasai Molar story.

Rachael has worked in the dental profession for over 20 years. She trained as a Dental Hygienist in the Royal Air Force and left in 2008 to pursue a varied career working in NHS and private practice before moving to Dubai in 2013. Rachael is the past President of the Emirates Dental Hygienists Club. Rachael holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Liverpool and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Public Health at Teesside University. Rachel and Dr Nkoya will discuss the existing clinic and the plans they have for its future.


Masiko Matemba10.00 – 10.40 : Maziko  Hisbon Matemba – The Effect of Covid 19 on Rural Healthcare Systems

Maziko Hisbon Matemba is a professional public health expert, community mobiliser and facilitator who has served as a Health and Human Rights campaigner in Malawi and globally for 15 years. .

His roles and academic achievements , to date, include National Community Health Ambassador , PHM Malawi Coordinator , Train of Trainer (ToT) , Global Health Financing , Public health services reforms technical and health systems expert , Executive Director of Health and Rights Education Programme (HREP) (NGO) , Malawi Global Fund Coordinating Committee Vice Chairperson , Chairperson of Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organization (MANASO) a network of 1000 community organisations, National Champion for Reproductive, Maternal, New born, Adolescent and Child Health (RMNCAH+ Nutrition) for SDG 3 in Malawi alongside the Her Excellency Graca Machel of Graca Machel Trust (GMT) former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa,  Yale University School of Public Health -Health policy and Management and University of Kwazulu and Pretoria –International Law.


Ife Adetula10.55 – 11.35 : Dr Ife Adetula – Upstream Approach to Unmet Oral Health Needs; NOMA as a Case Study

The Unmet Oral health need is greater than the unmet medical need, and this is even more so in rural settings. Previous efforts have been by the downstream approach, with attendant deficiencies. The Upstream approach should be engaged.

Dr Ife Adetula is a public health dentist, having eight years of practice, with experience in government hospital, private settings and indigenous non-governmental organisation. A YALI RLC Cohort 5 Alumni, with foundational studies in global health and a proponent of the need to take dentistry to spaces outside the conventional dental clinic as a means of meeting the huge oral health need. Head of a registered organisation (ZeroNOMA Initiative), dedicated to the prevention of NOMA (Cancrum Oris) in Nigeria, with volunteers in all the Northern states. A postgraduate student in Dental Public health, having special interest in Health policy and has authored several write-ups on oral health and NOMA.


Erick Venant11.45 – 12.15 : Erick Venant – Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance – Awareness is Key

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medications. This makes common infections harder to treat and increases the risk of diseases spreading, severe illness and death. Antimicrobial resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antimicrobials – it is that microorganisms have become The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that antimicrobial resistance is now one of the top 10 global public health threats.

Drug resistant infections kill around 700,000 people worldwide each year and, according to a report by the UN, the number could increase to 10 million per year by 2050 resistant to the drugs designed to kill them. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are rapidly accelerating this process. As well as affecting multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), antimicrobial resistance also has serious economic consequences: the World Bank predicts that 24.1 million people could fall into extreme poverty by 2050 because of this problem. One of the key strategic objectives of the World Health Organization’s global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) action plan and Tanzania’s AMR national action plan is to improve public awareness and understanding of this issue.

In Tanzania Roll Back Antimicrobial resistance Initiative, a NGO with special focus to contain AMR has been taking efforts to increase AMR awareness and promote positive behavioral change to reduce the failure of treatment of infections due to AMR. The organization covers both rural and urban communities focusing on promoting better understanding and awareness about antimicrobial resistance from an early age through its AMR School clubs project.RBA Initiative uses different strategies to enhance better understanding of antimicrobial resistance while encouraging creativity and innovation among the students. Strategies include the use of arts and craft like songs, drama, traditional dance, drawing, poems and competitions.

COVID-19 threatens to further exacerbate antimicrobial resistance due to many people across the globe resorting to self-medication, as well as a significant increase in the overuse of antibiotics. Additionally, due to the significant increase in hospital admissions during the pandemic so far, there is a risk that healthcare-associated infections may rise, including the transmission of resistant organisms. Containing and controlling AMR demands coordinated action across diverse sectors and disciplines, with a broad range of stakeholders.

Erick Venant is the founder and CEO of Roll Back Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative (RBA Initiative) an NGO in Tanzania which focuses on containing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).Trained as a pharmacist, Erick has received several awards for his work to contain AMR including the Princess Diana Legacy Award. He is also an educator for different global courses on AMR. In Tanzania, Erick serves as a member of the AMR Technical Working Group for Awareness, which is under the Ministry of Health. His work has played an important role in inspiring others to combat AMR, Erick has spoken on AMR at numerous events both at national and international levels.


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Session 2

Rawlance 14.00 – 14.30 : Dr Rawlance Ndejjo – Experiences from implementing a community cardiovascular disease prevention programme in rural Uganda 

Lawrance  will share his experiences of delivering a community cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention programme led by community health workers (CHWs) in 80 villages in two districts in Uganda. In this programme, CHWs are trained to screen for CVD risk using non-laboratory interheart tool based on which they carry out lifestyle counselling for behaviour change. They are also able to refer community members to the health facility for further advice and review.

The aim of the programme is to improve knowledge and promote uptake of healthy lifestyle practices for CVD prevention. Reflecting on the programme’s two year plus existence Lawrance will highlight the barriers, facilitators and lessons learnt from both the CHW and community perspectives.

Rawlance is an academic and researcher at Makerere University School of Public Health with over 8 years experience in teaching and public health research. He holds a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Antwerp in Belgium that he completed in September this year. His other training at master’s and undergraduate levels were in Environmental Health. Rawlance currently coordinates the Scaling-up of Packages of Interventions for Cardiovascular diseases prevention in selected sites in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa (SPICES) project at Makerere University School of Public Health which is implementing and evaluating CVD prevention interventions at community and health facility levels in two districts in Uganda.


Nura Aded and Dr Manal Gas14.45 – 15.20 – Nura Aded Ibrahim and Dr Manal Gas – A message from a country where 44.8% of its population lives rurally. Challenges faced by the Somaliland rural health system.

In 2020 the population of Somaliland was recorded as 4.2  million, with the bulk of the population living in urban centres (Somaliland Health and Demographic Survey (SLHDS) 2020). According to the Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP II, Somaliland remains a low-income country with clear disparities between, urban and rural communities, and the poorest and the relatively rich classes. Consequently, 49.9% of the urban population are categorised as poor (living below the poverty line), whereas 62.9% of the rural population and 55.3% of internally displaced persons live below the poverty line.

Nura Aydid Ibrahim is a Country Director of the Tropical Health Education Trust (T.H.E.T) and has training and experience in the fields of education and health, and has extensive experience leading health system strengthening programmes in Somalia/Somaliland. Nura has nine years’ experience working for health and education projects, including networking and collaboration with the health and education programme partners in Somaliland from national level to village levels.

Dr. Manal Gas is one of Somaliland’s most promising junior doctors. She received her medical degree from Hayat Medical University in Ethiopia a few years ago, she has since worked in the emergency department in hospital’s. Dr. Manal is also a health activist who campaigns against FGM and GBV. She co-founded Limitless Doctors, a group of young doctors who travel to the most remote areas to provide health care. She is currently employed with the Somaliland Ministry of Health Development’s Department of Health Service and Hospitals. She was recently promoted to run Daryeel Community Hospital which is a newly established governmental hospital.


Penelope Granger15.30 -16.05 Dr Penelope Granger – How Remote is Remote? A view from the Dentist Chair – Tristan da Cunha

After graduating in 1991 and completing vocational training in General Dental Practice, Penelope headed off to Australia (travelling a lot of it by bike), where she worked with the remote Aboriginal Communities of Cape York and on Thursday Island. Returning to Scotland she studied for an MSc in Community Dental Health before working for British Antarctic Survey, based mostly on the RRS Ernest Shackleton spending many months in the Antarctic.

20 years on and Penelope still works for them, albeit in a different capacity of training and offering remote clinical support, utilising telemedicine, for the doctors in the Antarctic.  She has also lived and worked in remote Northern Sweden for 7 years. In 2011 Penelope made her  first visit to Tristan da Cunha as the dentist and has been involved with staff training, planning and developing of the Islands dental service and  is part of the small working group involved in the development of the new Island hospital and the design of the dental department. Currently she is  working in Dundee Dental Hospital as a Specialty dentist in restorative dentistry.


Andrew Paterson and Martha Chipanda16.15- 17.00 Dr Andrew Paterson and Dr Martha Chipanda – Mobile Oral Health Teaching for Remote and Rural Malawi

The talk will discuss the challenges and benefits of upskilling and teaching dental professionals using mobile devices how to teach key oral health messages to non-dental personnel in remote and rural Northern Malawi using mobile devices. It will then discuss the roll-out to the rest of Malawi and the challenges of cascading oral health messages to non-dental personnel in remote and rural areas.

Andrew Paterson’s “day job” is as a Senior Clinical Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry at the University of Dundee/NHS Tayside. He previously worked in a restorative dentistry centred practice in Glasgow for 22 years and has formerly been an NHS Consultant in two dental hospitals and a district hospital. Andrew was brought up in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi and has always had an interest in developing world dentistry. Andrew is a regular volunteer, clinical lead and trustee of Bridge2Aid. During the Covid-19 pandemic Andrew coordinated with others an e-learning course for Dental Therapists in northern Malawi involving a collaboration of multiple stakeholders including the Dental Association of Malawi, the Malawian Ministry of Health and the NGOs Smileawi & Bridge2Aid.


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Session 3

Manan Dave & Senarthiraja Ariyaratnum18.00- 1845 : Dr Manas Dave and Prof. Raj Ariyaratnam – Achieving global dissemination of COVID-19 research

The University of Manchester has produced a regular update service which provides a narrative summary on the contents of key research developments on COVID-19. This service promotes evidence-based practice, signposts readers to changes in the global consensus of testing, management and interventions for SARS-CoV-2 infections and provides a commentary on the application of research for key stakeholders.

Prof. Raj Ariyaratnam  is a Professor of Dental Education and Global Oral Health and The Academic Lead for Oral Medicine Teaching programme at the University of Manchester in addition to being a practising Specialist in Oral Medicine. He is also the Lead for Social Responsibility (Dentistry) and Global Oral Health Initiatives (GOHI) at the University of Manchester and a Senior Examiner at the Royal College of Surgeons, England. He lectured in many disciplines including Anatomy, Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Global Health, T&L pedagogies and conducted CPD programmes nationally and internationally and has been invited many times as a guest or a keynote speaker at the national and International Conferences. He has published widely in peer reviewed Journals and has received many national and international awards for his leadership and innovation in medical – dental education including Service-Learning pedagogy. Recently he has received triple Fellowships from three different national institutions recognising his significant and sustained contributions to Dentistry and Higher Education.

His proven leadership in organising international CPD programmes has helped him to pioneer and lead GOLF (Global Online Learning Forum) a platform to share knowledge and skills with hundreds of global health care professionals, particularly those from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Working in true partnership with colleagues around the world has driven him to build and lead a global team engaging in health-educational empowerment and capacity building among health care professionals in Asia and Africa. He is a Trustee at the Manchester Global Foundation (MTF) and Manchester Tamil Association (MTA).


Dr Manas Dave qualified from The University of Manchester with degrees in Pathology and Dentistry. He undertook postgraduate training in Newcastle and Middlesbrough before returning to Manchester where he is an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Honorary Lecturer in Dentistry. Manas has achieved postgraduate qualifications in Medical Education, Dental Public Health and Pathology Informatics. He has published extensively across numerous journals including the BMJ, Lancet and BDJ, has extensive teaching experience of both undergraduate and postgraduate students and is a recipient of numerous personal and research awards.


Katie Read-Challen19.00-19.45 : Katie Read-Challen – The Ethics of Healthcare Volunteering Abroad 

A run through of Katie’s research project which focused on dental charity Smileawi as a case study, using an ethical framework. This talk will include an overview of the literature surrounding the topic of healthcare volunteering abroad. Main findings from the project will also be discussed, in particular the themes of sustainability, education and collaborative partnerships.

Katie is a final year dental student at Glasgow Dental School. She was lucky enough to join Scottish dental charity Smileawi in Malawi for an elective trip in June 2019, where a team of students and charity members measured the burden of dental decay in children in rural areas. In September 2019 she studied an intercalated Bachelor of Science degree in Global Health, again at the University of Glasgow.

Panel Discussion20.00-21.00 : Prof. Jeremy Bagg, Mr Stuart Fergusson and Dr Merlin Willcox – Panel Discussion

Jeremy Bagg has recently retired as Head of the University of Glasgow Dental School. He is now focusing on his role in the Scottish Government funded MalDent Project which has established Malawi’s first BDS programme and is developing an Oral Health Policy / Implementation Plan in collaboration with the Malawi Government Ministry of Health. He has recently set up a charity called ‘MalDent Student Aid’  to raise funds in support of Malawian dental students. He was recently appointed as Global Health Director at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow.

Mr Stuart Fergusson graduated MBChB from the University of Glasgow in 2006. He subsequently trained in colorectal and general surgery in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh from 2012-14. From 2016-17 he was a Clinical Leadership Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG), during which time he co-wrote the RCPSG’s influential policy report on the value of international volunteering, “Global Citizenship in the Scottish Health Service”. Following completion of training, he and his wife spent 5 months volunteering in a remote and rural Zambia mission hospital. From August 2021 – August 2023 he will be a Rural Surgical Fellow in Aberdeen prior to taking up an appointment as consultant surgeon with NHS Shetland. He maintains interests in medical education, global health needs, rural healthcare and clinical/educational research.

Dr Merlin Willcox is a clinical researcher at the Dept of Primary Health Care at the University of Oxford, UK, and a GP at a health centre for homeless people in Oxford. His research interests include primary health care for disadvantaged populations, traditional medicine, and clinical trials of herbal medicine. He has been involved in several clinical trials of herbal medicines for malaria and helped to set up a network of people involved in this field called “RITAM” (Research Initiative on Traditional Antimalarial Methods). I am currently working on two projects, HURAPRIM (Human Resources for Primary Care in Africa) and MUTHI (Multidisciplinary University Traditional Health Initiative).


We really hope you can join us for some, or all of the sessions, and look forward to hearing from you.

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