Work the World offered a unique and amazing experience all at the same time. From the word go once I had signed up to Work the World they got the ball rolling and instantly began helping plan my elective, constantly keeping me up-to-date along the way.
The Work the World house was a home-away-from-home, with a lovely bunch of medical and nursing students and professionals alike, and a staff team that truly went above and beyond in the call of duty.
From a friendly welcome by Mohammed being picked up at the airport to a detailed, yet relaxed introduction by Mark and a thorough orientation by the two (both Programme Managers) they really helped put me at ease. Mark and Mohammed had so much local knowledge, where to eat, drink, party, shop and relax, interesting days out and trips away making planning our activities a great deal easier. Swahili lessons are provided with your first being on your induction day. They really do help!
At the main hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s National Hospital, we were located in the orthopaedic institute. Each week we worked somewhere different: Theatres, A&E and the Intensive Care Unit. The work in theatres was mostly observational, certain clinical aspects of their work are very different from the UK (for example disposing of their sharps in old bleach bottles) however, it was important to remember that we were in Tanzania.
IN A&E WE SAW A VARIETY OF PATIENTS 99% OF WHOM WERE BROUGHT IN FROM MOTOR BIKE RELATED INCIDENTS.
They do not have the same resources as we do in the UK although they do as much as they can with their resources available. In A&E we saw a variety of patients 99% of whom were brought in from motor bike related incidents. The nurses and doctors all spoke good English and were friendly and welcoming and eager to involve us in the patient care.
The Intensive care Unit was well equipped, the nurses whilst doing some things differently to us were keen to hear about how I would care for patients even if they did not always have the resources to accomplish this. Across all three departments I experienced severe road traffic accidents, compound fractures, unconscious adults and children, dislocations, malnourished patients, anaemia, wound care, medication administration, the management of aggressive patients, personal care, seeing both good and bad practice of clinical skills.
Zanzibar was amazing! Only a short ferry ride away we saw giant tortoises on Prison Island, went on the Spice Tour and snorkelling. Our Safari was just as good! Cruising through Mikumi National Park seeing all of the wildlife was a magical experience I’ll remember forever. An afternoon at the local orphanage was lovely, we took lots of toys, food and clothes for them all of which was much appreciated.
Two of us had our birthday on the same day, Mark and Mohammed surprised us both with a card and cake each! It was a lovely gesture and made it a special and memorable day.
My final week was at the Kidodi Village health centre with three other housemates from Work the World. Our guide/mentor for the week David (a nurse) was friendly, approachable and after a morning of work always had fun activities lined up for our afternoons.
Whether that be visiting a traditional healer (a witch doctor), trekking up a mountain, experiencing a traditional tribal dance, swimming in a waterfall and a bike ride through the sugar cane plantations he ensured we were never bored! We accompanied doctors on ward rounds, assisted in antenatal checks, spent time in the laboratory, HIV clinic, saw patients with malaria, and weighed many a baby! It was varied work and well worth experiencing!
TRANSPORT IN DAR ES SALAAM WAS CRAZY! PEOPLE DRIVING EVERYWHERE AND ANYWHERE AND CAR HORNS BLARING AWAY!
Our host family were lovely and whilst they didn’t speak any English we managed to get by. Food was simple yet delicious and the local children enjoyed playing with us with the toys we took out for them. Transport in Dar es Salaam was crazy! People driving everywhere and anywhere and car horns blaring away! There is so much to see and do. Bartering is normal in most places but means you can get great deals on souvenirs!
Tanzanians appreciate people being polite and friendly and whilst there may be some aspects to their care which would seem shocking to us in the UK they have their own rationales for doing things the way they do. Don’t be too quick to judge and just go in with an open mind. Be engaging, offer to help and get involved wherever you can. The local staff appreciate this and will often get you more involved when you do. Work the World provided a truly exciting, fun, challenging and magical experience which I will treasure for a life time.