Doctors on safari success in 2016
As in 2015, the strongest relationship and greatest success came in aiding Bridge2Aid with their dental programmes in Tanzania.
The programme which trains and monitors clinical officers in safe tooth extractions has been focused around the Mwanza area since it began and Care With A View are very happy to have helped bring it to new areas of the country, namely Morogoro and Tanga, where we operate our camps. These areas had no single dentist in any community outside the main district headquarters in each area. For example, there was no dentist between Pangani town and Handeni town, a distance of nearly 200km, the consequence of which is 1000’s of people suffer with dental problems and pain, or undertake unsafe extractions which are dangerous and sometimes lead to terrible infection and loss of life.
Doctors on Safari in 2015
2014 has been a year of consolidation and planning the best way forward. We have introduced two long term projects working on healthcare in Tanzania, to our Dr’s on Safari programmes, and both will take giant steps forward in 2015.
Having met with Jo and Mark Topley early in 2014, we were introduced to the Bridge to Aid charity which has profoundly changed the standards of dental care in all its areas of operation in Tanzania (www.bridge2aid.org). Its centre of operation is in Mwanza, in the far West of Tanzania, and it has been its own excellent clinic in the city.
The main purpose of Bridge2aid is to train heath workers in rudimentary dental care and safe extractions. Great swathes of Tanzania have no single person able to offer the most basic dental care and Bridge2aid has helped enormously in improving this situation. Their programmes involve volunteer teams of dentists coming out from UK with practice nurses, and working one to one with chosen health workers in each district, over a period of ten days or so, to achieve in them a level of competence sufficient to perform basic dentistry and refer cases when necessary.
Doctors on Safari in 2011
In March 2011, we finally cemented our first relationship between the village hospitals of Kisaki (the nearest village to Sable Mountain) and a major overseas university hospital. Thanks to considerable efforts from Dr Gary Connett, we began our first round of student doctors from Southampton University in 2011. The students come to work in our community hospitals in Kisaki (Selous) & Mkwaja (Saadani) villages each year. The students live in the camp which provides a comfortable base whilst they are here and travel to the village each day. This is the first stage of a long term plan which, we hope, will soon incorporate senior medical personnel from Europe coming out to train local doctors and nurses in specialist fields, again whilst based at the camps. The relationships built between institutions will lead to increasing support with medical supplies and equipment, and the development of a long term strategy for improved public health. We anticipate a rapid increase in participating camps to provide accommodation and university hospitals to support community health over the coming years.
Some of the wonderful achievements of Dr’s on safari
We are now in our third year of this initiative and so far have achieved the following:
- We have trained and supported two local nurses particularly in the much needed area of midwifery. As a result of research over the last few years, we are focusing on midwifery as a key area which requires urgent attention. Due to a lack of facilities in Mkwaja village (Saadani), first time pregnant mothers have to travel 3 hours by bus to the town of Pangani and live there for the final 2 months of their pregnancy bringing great discomfort and financial burden to young expectant mums. Running midwifery courses in Mkwaja village and supplying the necessary equipment will allow pregnant mothers to remain at home in Mkwaja for their full term.
- The medical students have provided First Aid training to the park rangers in Saadani & Selous, local school teachers in Kisaki and Mkwaja as well as providing updated training to our own camp staff.
- Information booklets written in Kiswahili have been circulated to young mothers as well as clinics and workshops given by the medical students highlighting symptoms of common illnesses young mums may find with their babies and young children and what do do to prevent such illnesses as well as treatment.
- In March 2013 we were fortunate enough to be visited by Dr Jonathan Wong and Dr Ronnie Arulnesan who, at the time were final year medical students from The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. Jonathan devised, installed and personally trained on site the local nurses on a computer medical records system for the village of Mkwaja assisted by Ronnie. The Pangani District Chief Medical officer attended for the presentation in March. The computer system is low maintenance, long lasting and designed to leave a small energy footprint. For this we received a commendation from the Pangani District Health Authority for Jonathan’s efforts. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort Jonathan took to not only devise the system but to ensure that training was given on its usage.