Posted on 27 April, 2015

After days of preparation and planning, surgery is under way, with local surgeon Godwin leading a shunt operation on 14-month-old Crispina to start to correct a number of flaws in her heart, supported and guided by experienced Perth-based surgeon David Andrews.

The ICU nursing team, led by Wendy Corkill from Alice Springs spent the morning putting the final touches on preparations to the ICU, including educating the local nurses in some of the techniques involved in nursing paediatric cardiac patients post-surgery.

(ICU nursing staff spent the morning make final preparations for patients, educating local nurses and testing equipment.)

Since OHI’s visit last year, most of the more experienced nurses have rotated out of the ICU at Bugando Medical Centre, and the new staff are very keen to learn from the OHI volunteers.

After three-and-a-half hours in surgery, Crispina came onto the ICU ward under the care of anaesthetist Andrew Weatherall. After handover, her recovery care started under the close supervision of Intensivist Elizabeth Croston.

(Photo: ICU nurse Aleisha Tate)

The four ICU nursing staff work 12-hour shifts to support the hospital’s staff and care for the patients during their time in the ICU. All going well, the patients stay in ICU for 24 hours before being transferred into the wards for ongoing care.

One of the many rewarding aspects of volunteering with OHI is the chance to be immersed in the culture of the city in which you are working.

When not on shift or sleeping, the volunteers on the Mwanza trip are enjoying looking around the city, and getting to know some of the locals.

Being Sunday, it is market day today, and nurses Aleisha Tate and Steph Davis and I were tasked by the rest of the crew with stocking up on fruit. The array of fruit, vegetables, dried fish and live chickens was truly impressive, with the ubiquitous banana featuring heavily.

In Tanzania and other parts of Africa it is eaten as a starch staple, in curries and other dishes. Each day the hospital provides the volunteer team on shift a cooked lunch, and the banana often features both in the main course and as a post-lunch snack.

(Photos: Markets in Tanzania. Photo credit: Steph Davis)

Sadly, despite the dizzying array of produce for sale, malnutrition is a significant issues in Tanzania, and many of the children presenting to the team show some degree of malnutrition.

While volunteers are told to be respectful in snapping pics of the locals, most love the chance to be photographed, and keen to join in on selfies, particularly the youngsters, many of whom took photos of their own on their mobile phones.Groups of entrepreneurial children were all too keen to assist by providing plastic bags and carrying our purchases – for a small negotiable fee.

aleishaandsteph(Photo: Aleisha and Steph with locals)

Tags:  East Africa,