Medical volunteering with Art in Tanzania

By Katie O’Reilly-Boyles (Originally Published on Sep 26, 2013)

We interviewed Rosie, from the UK, about her experience as she worked on the medical project in Dar es Salaam. Here are her views:

Volunteers help to diagnose one of the patients on the female ward

Volunteers help to diagnose one of the patients on the female ward

As your project draws to a close, what have you most enjoyed about medical volunteering?

“I like it because it differs from place to place, and it’s also good to see how a hospital is run here compared to the system in the UK. I saw a very undeveloped clinic before coming to this [Mbweni] hospital, for example, and although it was upsetting –doctors had no soap to wash their hands with – the doctor was clearly amazing and the experience really had a big impact on me. Now I want to send over books, laptops and equipment in general from the UK, because that’s really what they need. I’ve also enjoyed the responsibility, particularly at the clinic, as I was sometimes allowed to treat patients.”

 How do you think you have helped?

“We shadow the doctor here at the hospital which means we sometimes assist him, but in the clinic the doctor would sometimes leave me with some patients (who could speak English). I was allowed to diagnose and prescribe medicines, and it was very exciting when I got it right! Again, I think it would be really useful, when I get home, to set up funds so that we can send them over equipment such as an ultrasound machine, and even simple things like some papers to write patients’ records on.”

Rosie takes the blood pressure of an outpatient

Rosie takes the blood pressure of an outpatient

We also interviewed Dr Daniel Muganyizi of Mbweni hospital who our medical volunteers have been shadowing.

How do you feel that the Volunteers help you in the hospital?

“I believe it is important to develop a field of medicine for the junior medics among us, and provide opportunities for them. The volunteers come from different parts of the world bringing with them different knowledge which they can exchange among themselves. With the medical profession, you don’t just learn things and consider it is done – you continuously gain more medical knowledge and skills throughout your career, for the benefit of the people you are saving and the volunteers.

Dr Daniel Muganyizi, Mbweni hospital

Dr Daniel Muganyizi, Mbweni hospital

My best memory of volunteers and how they have helped us at the hospital is when some groups performed an X-ray and prepared instruments for operations, and they did it very well! All the staff at Mbweni Hospital, including the nurses, clinical assistants and porters really appreciate the volunteers and what they do.”Justyna, from Poland, performs a Malaria test on a patient at Mbweni Hospital

Justyna, from Poland, performs a Malaria test on a patient at Mbweni Hospital

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