A Helping Hand for Health Care in Tanzania

Story

Dr Bruce 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‚ÄĒconditions 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. 

‚ÄúThe nurses at¬†Maweni¬†go above and beyond the call of duty,¬†as there is a major doctor shortage in rural areas of Tanzania,‚ÄĚ says¬†Dr. Bruce¬†(the name¬†he was known¬†by¬†at¬†Maweni¬†Hospital). ‚ÄúBut the nursing staff is no match for the relentless stream of critically ill children who arrive at the hospital each day.‚Ä̬†

By sharing his knowledge, Dr. Bruce¬†helped¬†the nurses¬†and medical staff increase their¬†clinical skills so they¬†can¬†respond to children‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĮ

‚ÄúI 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,‚ÄĚ says Dr. Bruce.¬†‚ÄúBoth myself and the nurses are better health care providers because of our work together.‚ÄĚ

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.

‚ÄúShe 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,‚Ä̬†says Dr. Bruce.¬†‚ÄúI was thrilled to hear that the hospital is making¬†Nuru¬†a nurse trainer so she can pass on her exceptional skills.‚Ä̬†

Dr. Bruce says the training he provided reminded¬†him of a principle that underlies much of Cuso International‚Äôs work; a little bit of knowledge can go a long way‚ÄĒit can make the difference between lives lost¬†and lives saved.¬†¬†

Since 2015,¬†Cuso‚ÄĮhas sent¬†close to 20¬†skilled health workers like Dr. Bruce on long-term placements to support our partners in¬†Tanzania.