Volunteer in a medical project in semi-rural Tanzania
This project started in 2007 offering temporary shelter and social welfare services for the most vulnerable women and their children. The need to expand the services to provide medical care became evident and the centre started providing affordable care for the people of the region.
Now the centre focuses on providing medical outpatient services to both men and women through a range of activities, while serving as a research base for the Canadian charity that manages it.
There is a modern, professional outpatient clinic that offers care to the local community. The clinic will see 15 patients a day, some of who come from the local area, while others travel from a distance having being reached through one of the outreach programmes run by the centre.
The outreach programmes perform screening and outpatient services in remote communities. These are typically day trips targeting local communities, (a Masai village for example), offering consultations, promoting public health issues and raising awareness of the clinic.
The project also organises medical caravans delivering outpatient services and screening over an extended rural area. This is a major operation happening twice a year that will have 2,000 consultations.
In addition to the clinic based services, the project provides free outpatient services to a number of orphanages.
The project is currently working on 5 research projects on behalf of multiple agencies. This work is supported by long term volunteers from Canada, but Outreach participating volunteers are invited to observe and go on field accompaniment (but not direct involvement).
Volunteers studying medicine or healthcare, students on a medical elective or part qualified healthcare professionals can all provide support to the project while gaining invaluable practical experience at the clinic. Fully qualified nurses and doctors wanting experience of volunteering abroad can provide incremental services, specialisms and capacity to the project.
Volunteers with medical experience are primarily required to assist in the project’s own medical clinic. Volunteers with less medical experience, including medical students on electives, will be trained on how to take basic measurements during the screening process and provide administrative support to the clinic. Nurses and doctors will participate directly in the outpatient clinic according to their capability and with the agreement of the project Director.
Under the sponsorship of project, the opportunity exists for qualified volunteers to shadow the public health services in Moshi – in the clinic, dispensary or hospital. This would provide a greater insight into local conditions and practices, with a higher incidence of chronic cases. This requires an additional permit to be purchased.
The medical outreach programmes and caravans are funded by third parties and donors who accompany the teams, so volunteers who want to accompany them can only do so by individual arrangement and by making a reasonable contribution to attend them.
Medical volunteers provide extra capacity for the clinic, enabling more patients to be seen and a higher level of interaction with each patient.
Qualified practitioners who can provide specialist knowledge and resources, potentially expanding the overall capability of the project are welcome. In this instance, Outreach International would facilitate a conversation directly with the project Director to ensure the effective use of skills, potentially in a tailored programme.
I needed a little break in my job, and probably going away and doing something very different was one of the best things I could have done, Career break, Tanzania