Work the World curated a fantastic placement in Dar Es Salaam, and catered to our personal interests.
The local hospitals were flexible with the fields and departments we were interested in experiencing.
There was a lot to learn in Tanzania, some of it is different from what we were used to back at home. At times it was challenging but, there were many great things to see and intelligent, caring healthcare professionals to work with.
I spent a month in the major referral hospital in Dar es Salaam. I spent 2 weeks in paediatric surgery, and another two in the ED.
Paediatric surgery was relatively well resourced thanks to many major charities. The ED, on the other hand, struggled with resources.
But in spite of this, I didn’t see poor management of patient care as you might expect. Rather, I saw doctors who cared about their patients, using what they could to do as good a job as possible.
It took some time to acclimatise to this (much like the weather).
Fortunately, we were surrounded by a great and welcoming culture. The people of Tanzania were warm, loved talking with us.
Though I will say that learning even a little bit of Swahili goes a long way. Besides, it was a fun language to speak.
I was busy in the hospital during the week, but somehow managed to be even busier at the weekends. I spent one exploring Zanzibar Island, one on safari, and one reading by the pool. Okay, that last one wasn’t very busy.
This downtime was fantastic. I got to see some of the more tourist-friendly and fun areas of Tanzania, as well as having a break from the hospital.
There were always people in the Work the World house keen to go on a group adventure.
My placement opened my eyes to both the differences and similarities between hospitals in developing and developed countries.
I fell in love with the staff, my housemates, and the people of Tanzania. I was sad to leave.
There are so many other great things and I could talk about them for hours — the food, the sights, the music…. But these are all best experienced for yourself!