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Diagnostic imaging project volunteers

Health Education England (HEE) Global Engagement Directorate recognises the value of opportunities to participate in volunteering in Low Middle-Income countries (LMIC) for the NHS workforce.

Such opportunities contribute to the personal and professional development of an individual, whilst providing the opportunity to improve health outcomes in resource limited settings. A pilot project has been developed to support capacity building within imaging services in two hospitals in Gulu, a city in the north of Uganda. The project will use a combination of long-term volunteers, short-term volunteers delivering teaching and training packages and virtual volunteers supporting online education and mentoring. The personal and professional development of the volunteers will be measured, and the project will assess the impact of volunteer interventions on imaging services within the two hospitals. The project was born out of a request from the Medical Director of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital – this project is very much about working in partnership with local health care staff to achieve the project outcomes.

The Gulu Diagnostic Imaging Project is based in Gulu, a city in the north of Uganda. The city of Gulu is the largest metropolitan area in Uganda’s Northern Region and it is located 335 km north of Uganda’s capital and largest city, Kampala. Gulu was recently awarded city status and has a population of over 150,000 people. Gulu is a vibrant city with many convenient amenities - a large indoor market selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, as well as several supermarkets, cafes, bars etc. Uganda has a tropical climate.  In the north there are two wet seasons running from April-May and October-November separated by dry seasons, although occasional tropical thunderstorms can occur outside of these times. Uganda’s largest National park, Murchison Falls is approximately 1 hours' drive away.

All volunteers will be expected to participate in the project’s formal evaluation of personal and professional development.

General information about volunteering abroad can be found via the following websites: 

BMA https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/career/going-abroad/working-abroad

Suggested experience /skills /personal attributes for this project are:

Essential skills:

  • Passionate about medical imaging
  • Profession specific qualification (i.e. degree in medicine, radiography, sonography, biomedical engineering, nursing)
  • Postgraduate qualification/ experience in radiology or radiography (including radiology trainees and consultants
  • Experience in audit
  • Excellent communication skills


  • Being able to work under stress/ pressure and at an environment with limited resources.
  • Experience of volunteering in UK or overseas is desirable but not essential
  • Being flexible and resilient

Suitable applicants will be contacted and invited to an interview to discuss the project and explore your motivation, suitability and resilience.

If you think that this opportunity may be right for you, please email the project team at  guluproject@hee.nhs.uk for more information.

Download the flyer to print and display.

Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is a 370 bedded, government-funded hospital. It is one of thirteen Regional Referral Hospitals in Uganda and is also a teaching hospital for medical students from Gulu University. The radiology department is staffed by a principal radiographer who is the head of department, one senior radiographer, one radiographer and three darkroom attendants.

Plain film and Ultrasound are the main sources of diagnostic imaging. CT and MRI scan are not available at the hospital currently however there is planning for CT to be privately available within the town. The equipment available:

- X Ray machine

- CR Processor

- Ultrasound machine with Doppler

St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor is a private not-for-profit 600 bedded teaching hospital with an average of 500 patients attending outpatients per day. It is 4 miles from Gulu town. It functions as a general and a referral hospital. Please find here the list of services at the hospital available.

Plain film and Ultrasound are the main sources of diagnostic imaging. CT and MRI scan are not available at the hospital currently however CT is available privately within the town. The radiology department receives on average more than 15,000 clients coming for radiological services annually. Please the click on the link here to the radiology department webpage.

There is a long-standing relationship between the NHS and Gulu – for over 10 years NHS volunteers have been coming to Gulu as part of a health partnership scheme. Previous volunteers have undertaken roles such as working clinically (long-term volunteers) or as part of short-term education trips. Those who have participated report that they have improved their leadership, resilience, decision making and clinical skills as well as knowing that they have made a major contribution to health care in a resource limited African community.  Most describe their experience as the single most formative event in their careers and return to work in the NHS with renewed enthusiasm, motivation, and appreciation.

We seek to recruit a small number of volunteers with expertise in diagnostic imaging / radiology and associated services, from the English NHS to volunteer on a long term, short term or virtual volunteering basis. This offer is open to any of the multi-disciplinary team. There are opportunities for long-term volunteers (6 months), short-term volunteers (approximately 1 week) and for virtual engagement to support curriculum development / online delivery of teaching/ facilitation of case discussions.

Health Education England will pay for health and travel insurance, accommodation, travel, vaccinations, subsistence, visa / work permit and arrange professional registration for the long-term volunteers. Volunteers will be responsible for their own medical indemnity – a top up is available if required.  A salary is not included in this offer.

There are opportunities for four long-term volunteers placed in pairs over 6 months. The long-term volunteers will be based either at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital or St Marys Hospital, Lacor. The role will be to work with colleagues in the hospitals to develop capacity within the diagnostic imaging services. Teaching, training and base line and on-going audit evaluation will be required. The long-term volunteer will have a role co-ordinating and facilitating the short-term teaching trips and the virtual volunteer opportunities. Options for taking time out for 6 months could be a career break (at your manager’s discretion) accrued time owing, annual leave, resignation from role or Out of Programme Experience for trainees.  

Description of Role:

There is flexibility regarding the projects that will be undertaken during the placement and that will depend on the local needs and will be defined in partnership with the local teams

Support delivery of clinical care (although not have responsibility for it), undertake and support the development of managerial tasks in order to enhance diagnostic radiology services. This is likely to involve collecting prospective clinical and non-clinical data for audit purposes

Participate in education development and training of local staff/ students.

Co-develop systems and processes to build capacity and quality in diagnostic imaging

Co-ordinating the short-term and virtual placement opportunities

Long-term volunteers will be allocated an identified in-country colleague to support you adjust and optimize your contribution to the project

Participate in evaluation of personal and professional development.

Dates to be confirmed, starting late 2021/ early 2022

There will be five sets of trips to deliver pre-determined education activities to health care staff and undergraduates in Gulu. An ability/ willingness to cover a wide range of imaging topics would be advantageous as the requirements may change over the course of the project, however suitable applicants will be matched to the requirements identified by our partners in Gulu.

Description of Role:

Direct teaching or co-delivery of teaching with our Ugandan colleagues. An example of teaching might be ultrasound skills and basic ultrasound guided interventions

Use of case studies, presentations and facilitation of education and training to different staff groups and students

Support the development of teaching and training

Evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching intervention

The short-term and virtual placement volunteers will support the long-term volunteers.  They are welcome to suggest projects for consideration.

Dates to be confirmed, starting late 2021/ early 2022 onwards

There will be a number of opportunities to engage with this project from a virtual perspective. It is anticipated that this would require 1-2 hours per week on average, however this may vary from week to week depending on the activity. There will be access to a UK online training platform for radiology.

Description of Role:

Assisting/ supporting with curriculum design/ development at undergraduate/ post graduate level with Gulu University and the Clinical Officer’s school

Delivering virtual teaching for health staff and students

Supporting faculty

Facilitating case-based discussions

Mentoring role to Ugandan colleagues

Clinical supervision / mentoring / peer support role of a long-term volunteer.

Dates to be confirmed, late 2021/ 2022.