Posted on 30 November, 2014

Wow, what a great few days! As a cardiac surgeon it has been a great opportunity to travel to a new country, experience wonderful hospitality and have the chance to work side by side with local surgeons, anaesthetists, perfusionists and nursing staff in theatres to start growing a paediatric cardiac surgery unit in Mwanza, Tanzania.


This bustling city on the southern shore of Lake Victoria is a vibrant, somewhat hilly place where our hotel is perched on the top of a rather rocky hill allowing spectacular views of Lake Victoria and the bird-life circling above. The drive between hotel and hospital never ceases to be entertaining and a little more heart-stopping after rain followed by mud- and rock-slides!! The suspension on the hotel vehicles has certainly had a workout this week!


At the hospital the hard-working team of doctors, nurses and physios in ICU and on the ward have ensured optimal pre- and post-operative care backed up by a fabulous cardiology team. Of course all teams have been a great mix of locals and Aussies all working productively side-by-side with team members also from Israel and Canada rounding up the international flavour. There has been plenty of learning from both sides – for me I realize how much I take for granted a continuous supply of running water, electricity and oxygen. But I never cease to be amazed at how little we need in order to repair the hearts of kids safely and effectively.


I think we will have done a total of 14 cases over 5 days by the time we finish with a good number done by the local surgeon Dr Godwin Sharau with a some guidance, assistance and advice from Dr Ian Nicholson and myself – it has been a wonderful experience watching Godwin’s skills and knowledge grow in such a short period of time! I think the prospects are bright for heart surgery to continue to grow in Mwanza – many of us will be very sad to leave our new friends but eager to come back and help again…


Tags:  East Africa,