A pathologist in Malawi
Dan Milner has a vision for the role of pathology in poor countries, writes Trip Sweeney
During a trip to Gambia after my second year of medical school I worked with a team of doctors who were treating patients with malaria. After several weeks of uncertainty, trying to diagnose malaria using clinical history alone without peripheral blood smears, I became interested in making the diagnosis to help optimise clinic visits and treatment. I quickly learnt that a pathologist's role is to make definitive diagnoses. At the end of medical school I went to Malawi as part of a pathology research project and found a pathology service responsible for several million people being run by two pathologists.
I foresee several benefits of complete pathology services. Firstly, diagnostic information can be provided to clinicians during primary contact with patients, many of whom live hours away from the hospital and may easily be lost to follow-up. Secondly, laboratory management and informatics will optimise laboratory testing for primary and secondary