Intended for healthcare professionals


Gynaecology sans Frontières

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 09 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:990
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Ian Jacobs, director of the Institute for Women's Health at University College London, tells Zosia Kmietowicz that his centre aims to improve women's health not only in the United Kingdom but worldwide

Patients in Mulago Hospital, Kampala, often lie down in British beds, have x ray pictures taken on British machines, and have their operations on British operating tables. The reason? When London's Middlesex Hospital closed last year, most of the hospital's furniture and equipment was shipped out to Mulago Hospital at the request of the Ugandan hospital's director and through the efforts of Professor Ian Jacobs, a practising gynaecologist and oncologist, whose concept of medicine is a truly international one.

Enticed away from Barts Hospital in 2004 by the promise of having his own institute for women's health at University College London (UCL), Jacobs not only runs the new organisation but is also responsible for one of the largest clinical trials in the world (to discover a screening test for ovarian cancer) and takes time off from his London commitments to work with doctors and healthcare workers in Uganda.

He and his team have devised 12 projects there, including cervical cancer screening, prevention of postpartum bleeding, and neonatal resuscitation, which are set to continue for at least three years. They have also built a hostel for radiotherapy patients at Mulago Hospital and provided funding for a chair of palliative care at Makerere University, and in October they held a meeting in Kampala on women's health that involved 400 health professionals from all over the country.

So how did Jacobs arrive at his present position as founder and director of UCL's Institute for Women's Health and as an adviser to the …

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