A couple of aspects stood out to me when I chose Tanzania. The placement hospital with its variety of children's wards and a trip to Zanzibar!
lt made sense that my weekends off were spent relaxing on the white-sand beaches watching the sun rise and set.
At my placement hospital there were multiple children's wards. During my six weeks, I had the opportunity to experience an oncology ward, neonatal unit, burns unit, theatres and intensive care.
In both the burns and oncology wards, the cases were very severe and progressive.
During my time at the oncology wound clinic I observed blastomas and oversized tumours in the stomach and saw a throat tumour protruding through a patient’s mouth.
Similarly, on burns there were open wounds that were treated without pain relief so it was distressing at times.
I had the chance to assist with cleaning and dressing changes and distracted the children with a wax toy I had brought with me as they didn't have any toys on the children's wards.
In contrast, the theatres and paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) was much more advanced and modern, and shared similarities to the UK with its equipment.
On PICU I assisted with nursing patients on vents and updated charts and used the abcde and GCS scoring system to assess the patient.
Additionally, I assisted with bed baths and during resus I helped with bagging.
On the labour and delivery ward I observed multiple types of births; breech, assisted with forceps and suction, c-section and vaginal.
It was interesting to see how they assessed the labouring mothers with the limited equipment they had.
I also observed stillbirths which were upsetting so it's useful to prepare yourself for those experiences too.
Although the health professionals spoke English the patients often didn't so it was useful to learn a few phrases like "breath", "push" and "congratulations" - just don't muddle them up!
Thankfully we had Swahili lessons with a fantastic teacher twice a week in the Work the World house which was very beneficial as it allowed us to communicate more with the patients.
In the hospital, the majority of health professionals spoke English and were happy to teach and share their knowledge.
They were also very interested in our own practices and asked us lots of questions too.
I also took part in the Village Healthcare Week which was an insight into rural Tanzania. During the mornings I assisted with baby weighings and observed clinics and visited a primary school.
Then with our free afternoons, we biked to sugar cane plantations, hiked through the village to a nearby waterfall and joined in with traditional drumming and dancing.
the Work the World team were fantastic at integrating us into the Tanzanian community.
Outside of placement the Work the World team were fantastic at integrating us into the Tanzanian community.
On Wednesday evenings we went to Coco Beach which was a highlight of my week as we did karaoke on the sand with the locals.
Every Thursday we also had a BBQ and learnt traditional dances, we also celebrated a few birthdays with cake and songs.
Weekends were free to explore the museums, markets, cinema and private beaches.
Zanzibar is definitely high on the recommendation list. There we explored Stone Town and Prison Island where the turtle sanctuary is and we snorkelled in the sea.
We also paddled our way to a restaurant in the middle of the sea and took a small rocky boat back.
On a further trip to Jozani Forest we saw monkeys up close and another weekend was spent on safari spotting lions, elephants and giraffes in their home territory.
It was breathtaking to see different environments undisturbed by modernisation.
Overall I recommend Tanzania if you are open to learning about different cultures amongst welcoming people and seeing progressive cases in the hospitals.
Choose Tanzania if you want a once in a lifetime experience!