Faisel Alam, a Masters student from the division of Imaging Science has been working with a new charity launched by KCL students to improve access to medical imaging for pregnant mothers in rural Bangladesh. He’s just returned from a trip to the country where they worked alongside local medical professionals leading seminars on best practice and offering access to healthcare to patients who otherwise may not have been able to receive it.
Maternal Aid Association (MAA) is a grassroots student led charity striving to improve situations in resource-poor settings such as Bangladesh, to bring about safe, effective, high quality maternal healthcare. This is the first overseas trip MAA have taken with the aim of providing high quality long-term sustainable maternal care in rural areas of Bangladesh. MAA has established strong links with British healthcare professionals, Bangladeshi universities, medical professionals and healthcare students in Bangladesh.
The trip was led by Faisel Alam, MRes Medical Imaging Sciences postgraduate masters’ student at King’s College London. Faisel received a scholarship from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and completed his MRes research project on access to medical imaging across the developing world, using maternal care in Bangladesh as a case study. This project was completed under the supervision of Dr Gregory Mullen, Senior Lecturer in Imaging Biology and Professor Philip Blower from the Division of Imaging Sciences and Biomedical Engineering.
The team of student volunteers spent two weeks working alongside Bangladeshi healthcare professionals from the Sylhet Women Medical College, MAG Osmani Medical College and in varying hospital settings. While there, the team also prepared and led a seminar on maternal care at Sylhet Women Medical College using evidence-based best practice and reflections from their international volunteering experiences. The team participated in three days of health camps at Balaganj, Sylhet – offering free basic health checks in parts of rural Bangladesh. This reached hundreds of local residents that would otherwise not normally have access to basic healthcare.
The team also received basic sonography training from Mrs Susan Halson-Brown – the MSc Ultrasound Lead, and had planned to deliver basic sonography using a portable ultrasound device to pregnant mothers in a rural village in Bangladesh. However, the team faced difficulty delivering the ultrasound station due to unforeseen circumstances around securing trained and qualified sonographers at the rural village health complex from the local hospitals. Nonetheless, this is an area the team will be developing and expanding on in future years.
MAA was founded by Aqil Jaigirdar, a 3rd year King’s College London medical student, and the team comprises current King’s College London healthcare students supported by Professor Janice Rymer, Vice President for the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Dr Daghni Rajasingham, Consultant Obstetrician Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.