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Tanzania Experience - The Nkoaranga Hospital

My time in Tanzania with Oyster has given me the best medical experience that I could have wished for; it has made me even more excited about starting medicine at University in September!! As well as teaching aRachel with Emeldat the primary school in the village I was living in (called Nkoaranga,) I also spent each afternoon following one of the nurses at the local hospital. Not only did I see a variety of patients and procedures while working there, I also made great friends with the nurse I was following, Emelda. She is 20 and still training for her nursing qualifications.

A normal afternoon at the hospital would start at 2pm when I would help the nurses distribute the different drugs to the patients in the In-wards. The hospital has beds for around 70 patients, and we would push a trolley round each of the rooms handing out their specific medicines. After that we'd administer the injections, by the end of the four months I was there, the nurses were even letting me help give the injections!   For the rest of the afternoon I would help Emelda collect clean bed sheets from the laundry room, supplies from the pharmacy, make beds and change the patient's drips.

On some occasions I was able to observe some other procedures. I Doctors of Nkoaranga Hospitalwatched numerous dressings being changed, most of which were the bed sores that had developed on some of the patients due to the quality of mattresses they were lying on. I was lucky enough to watch many operations; several appendectomies and operations where the doctors where trying to find the source of bloating in the abdomen.  In one of these operations the doctors decided it was best for the young girl lying on the table if the majority of her large intestine was cut out?!? This confused me slightly but was definitely an experience to watch. During my time there I also watched an abortion of an ectopic pregnancy, and spent time in the laboratory where I learnt how they test for infections, malaria, typhoid, HIV etc. The Lab technicians even taught me how to take blood from the patients myself!  I think the real eye-opener was when I watched two nurses bath and redress a burns victim. The little boy was only 7 years old and had serious burns from his face, down his chest and all over his lower body. The nurses placed him, screaming from pain into a plastic tub of warm salt water where they tried to bath him before redressing the burns.

All the doctors and nurses was very welcoming and friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed working there and maybe someday when I'm a trained doctor I will go back!

Rachel Weston Smith's placement in Tanzania was arranged with Oyster Worldwide.