The Student Room Group

Medical elective in Tanzania

Has anyone done a medical elective in Tanzania or Africa that wouldn’t mind sharing their experience and how they went about organising it?
Original post by Livvgemm
Has anyone done a medical elective in Tanzania or Africa that wouldn’t mind sharing their experience and how they went about organising it?

Hi I have not done my elective in Africa, but I spent some time at my dad's surgery during my uni hols in Kenya, so have some idea of what is/was involved. I was brought up in Kenya, so speak quite good Kiswahili [the national language]; also, I did my elective at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, so I have further exposure to the diseases seen in equatorial countries.

I am happy to provide you with help as follows:

1. My ex-classmates from school in Kenya will know some GPs and hospital doctors in Kenya [less chance in Tanzania], so I could help you get in touch with some of them. Oc there is no NHS in Kenya, so GPs run private practices. Are you interested in doing an elective with a GP or in hospital medicine? Well-known hospitals in Nairobi include the Aga Khan Hospital and Parklands Hospital [you might want to google these].

2. I am able to make up a short list of commonly used words/phrases in Kiswahili and their English translations once you fix s-t and are planning to fly, if that helps you.

3. If you are looking to gain particular experience in malaria [e.g.] the towns in Kenya [Kisumu], Uganda [Jinja], and Tanzania [Bukoba, Mwanza] as well Nakuru [you will have heard of the pink border around Lake Nakuru visible from the Nakuru-Nairobi highway due to tens of thousands of flamingoes] are packed with mosquitoes and hence rife for malaria [oc be prepared with Nivaquine/proguanil prophylaxis as recommended depending on your destination, otherwise you yourself will be a patient!] - on that note, also take a mosquito net to sleep under and battery-operated fly-killer + anti-bite skin spray. You will also likely see cases of trypanosomiasis, typhoid fever, leishmaniasis, Wuchereria bancrofti, dietary deficiencies, as well what you see in UK [CVD + neoplasms, etc. - probably v few cases of obesity and its consequences!].

4. Be prepared to see some florid pathology e.g. in my dad's waiting room there were jars filled with tapeworms several feet long from intestines, etc. Also GPs in remote areas are used to performing procedures that here in UK are only done by specialists e.g. looking for the classic crescent-shaped Plasmodium falciparum organism within erythrocytes under a light microscope [here done by pathologists if ever]; or "pulling out" teeth [here by dental surgeons]; cauterizing certain types of swellings; syringing earwax, etc etc.

If any of this sounds helpful or if you need other info, you now know where to find Sheldon :colondollar:

Enjoy your stay in East Africa - as English people say "Africa is s-t else!" - btw the people are vey friendly and hospitable, too.


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