A Helping Hand for Health Care in Tanzania
Common illnesses take many young lives in remote, rural areas with limited access to quality health care
Every morning, a long line of parents with their sick children begins to form outside Maweni Hospital in Kigoma, Tanzania. Most of these children are suffering from common illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, infection and malnutrition—conditions that take many young lives in remote areas with limited access to quality health care.
The hospital’s health workers do their best to examine and treat every child, but they are overwhelmed and under-resourced. With very little physician support, nurses like Nuru Ndijuye must prescribe treatments, perform resuscitations and manage very sick patients.
That’s why Cuso International is sending skilled medical volunteers like Dr. Bruce D’Souza to work alongside Nuru and her colleagues in the hospital’s neonatal and pediatric wards.
“The nurses at Maweni go above and beyond the call of duty, as there is a major doctor shortage in rural areas of Tanzania,” says Dr. Bruce (the name he was known by at Maweni Hospital). “But the nursing staff is no match for the relentless stream of critically ill children who arrive at the hospital each day.”
By sharing his knowledge, Dr. Bruce helped the nurses and medical staff increase their clinical skills so they can respond to children’s needs more effectively. And the learning went both ways. Dr. Bruce sought guidance from the nurses on how to provide care in a different culture, and in a hospital with limited supplies and space.
“I was very fortunate to be surrounded by a well-rounded and hard-working team of nurses. I came to rely on them as we worked together,” says Dr. Bruce. “Both myself and the nurses are better health care providers because of our work together.”
With her expertise and leadership, the hospital promoted Nuru to nurse trainer, ensuring there will be more qualified health workers at the hospital long-term.
“She has excellent knowledge and clinical skills, as well as an inspiring ability to remain cool and composed in crucial situations that occur day in and day out in her hospital,” says Dr. Bruce. “I was thrilled to hear that the hospital is making Nuru a nurse trainer so she can pass on her exceptional skills.”
Dr. Bruce says the training he provided reminded him of a principle that underlies much of Cuso International’s work; a little bit of knowledge can go a long way—it can make the difference between lives lost and lives saved.
Since 2015, Cuso has sent close to 20 skilled health workers like Dr. Bruce on long-term placements to support our partners in Tanzania.