THE Rotary Club of Glenorchy has extended a helping hand to medical research, sponsoring Dr Leonard Kabongo to come to Tasmania and study specialist techniques at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
A surgeon and anaesthetist from Namibia, Dr Kabongo moved from his native country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Namibia eight years ago to take up surgical work.
He is the chief medical officer at the Gobabis Hospital in Namibia.
The Rotary Club of Glenorchy’s Medical Fellowship began in 1992 and Dr Kabongo is the 20th overseas medical specialist to visit Tasmania under the program.
He is the first African doctor to be sponsored, with previous participants hailing from the pacific region.
Each sponsored medical professional spends a minimum of four weeks studying specialist techniques at the Royal Hobart Hospital and is permitted to undertake clinical work under the full supervision of a consultant specialist.
Rotary Club of Glenorchy president Haydyn Nielsen said the club’s involvement in the Medical Fellowship, in conjunction with the Royal Hobart Hospital, enabled doctors like Dr Kabongo to learn new techniques and transfer these experiences to their own local context.
Glenorchy Rotary funds the return airfares for the selected participants and the Royal Hobart Hospital undertakes other support in this long-standing partnership.
Dr Kabongo said he was “sincerely grateful” for the support the Rotary Club of Glenorchy had provided toward his medical fellowship at the Royal Hobart Hospital in Tasmania.
“This experience has tremendously contributed to enhance my skills in anaesthesia and perioperative care,” he said.
“The dynamic of the Medical Fellowship in the organisational structure, the availability of skilled and resourceful medical staff, as well as the know-how have all made this a great experience for me.
“Although Gobabis Hospital is under-resourced in a range of areas when compared with Tasmanian facilities, international cross-border skill and technique sharing is a considerable factor in improving medical care that can be offered in Gobabis.”
Mr Nielsen said the Glenorchy community were the backbone for the continuation of this medical initiative through constant support of Rotary’s fundraising events, such as its regular barbecues at Bunnings Glenorchy.
Caption: From left, Glenorchy rotarian Kerry Bowerman, Dr Leonard Kabongo, Royal Hobart Hospital’s Dr Tom Mohler and Rotary Club of Glenorchy president Haydyn Nielsen.