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IHI researcher wins Else Kröner Fresenius Award

Oct. 17, 2019
IHI researcher wins Else Kröner Fresenius Award
Dr. Martin Rohacek winner of this year's Else Kröner Fresenius Award

A researcher with the Interventions and Clinical Trials Department at Ifakara Health Institute, Dr. Martin Rohacek has won this year’s Else Kröner Fresenius Award for establishing and supporting local doctors manage 24-hour emergency services at St. Francis Referral Hospital (SFRH) in Ifakara.

The award ceremony took place on October 17 2019 at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Berlin. The award “increases the visibility of the project, of the need for emergency medicine, and of the Ifakara platform for clinical service, training, and research,” says Dr. Rohacek on receiving the prize.

Head of the IHI Chronic Diseases Clinic which is within the SFRH, Dr. Maja Weisser, says for IHI the award strengthens the platform of combined clinical services, research and training. Dr. Weisser, who attended the awarding event, says that was an opportunity for networking with possible new partners as there were 200 guests from various organizations.

What impressed the awarding committee?

Since 2015 when he started collaborating with IHI, Dr. Rohacek has been implementing the project "Establishment and organisation of an emergency ward in the St. Francis Referral Hospital in Ifakara, Tanzania" through which he set up an emergency ward for the hospital.

The emergency services are crucial to the facility with a triage system and the differential diagnosis and treatment of 36,000 patients annually. The hospital serves mainly rural population of around one million people.

Who are the primary beneficiaries?

“Primary beneficiary is the Emergency Department of the St Francis Referral Hospital, its patients and staff,” says Dr. Rohacek. According to him, about 100,000 patients from three districts within a radius of 150 kilometers have benefited from the project.

Issued by the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, one of the largest German non-profits promoting medical research and supports medical humanitarian projects, the prize is granted for excellent work in intensive and emergency medicine.

Dr. Rohacek says the award increases the chance that other following projects will be funded, expressing optimism that training activities such as courses in emergency medicine, ultrasound, and echocardiography can be expanded.

“Since implementation of emergency departments by the government of Tanzania is promoted these days, our clinic can serve as a role model,” he says. The prize money will be used to train medical staff in emergency medicine and ultrasound. #