Posted on 8 November, 2015

This is my second trip with Open Heart International and I’m very excited about what I get to be a part of here. I got a late call last year to join the first trip to Tanzania. It is a country I have loved for a long time, it’s vast beauty and the resilience of the local people. Now, I have the opportunity to help the country establish a fully functional cardiac centre in Dar es Salaam.


This trip was to be the first of its kind with the Dar es Salaam based project. We are coming here to travel around the country to reach out to the smaller communities and hospitals, to screen patients with heart disease. Our team is made up of myself, Naiz the local paediatric cardiologist, Jessica our sonographer and Phil our portable echo machine!

After a gruelling 30 hour journey, we arrived at our hotel in Moshi. Moshi is 600kms west of Dar es Salaam. It is Tanzania’s cleanest town and is very popular as it is the base city of Kilimanjaro. It was a beautiful sight with the Mountain in the background as we arrived.

We woke up at the crack of dawn as we are expecting a big turnout as we were spending the next two days at KCMC, the local hospital here. We arrived at 8am, and immediately met the Hospital Director who gave us a tour. He was so happy to have us and embraced us with open arms. It is hard to write the emotions you have when you visit thise places. The state of the wards, the conditions they live and work in…you get a real appreciation of how lucky we are in Australia.

We set up our clinic in an 18 bed ward in the corner as it was the only spot with guaranteed electricity. The day started with a cyanotic baby. We expected a straightforward case to start off with, however, we didn’t get one. This child has a complex condition called Taussig-Bing anomaly, it’s a very rare condition where both of the major vessels come out of the right ventricle, and in this case they are switched around the wrong way. This was going to be a long challenging day.

By the end of the day we had seen 30 patients. The children were all so cute and very well behaved, and loved our stickers of the kangaroos and koalas.


Our local host Ronald then told us about the local people and what they have available. A lot of the families have travelled from rural remote villages some hundreds of kilometres away, to see us. The only centre that can see these children normally is 700 kilometres away and too expensive for them to travel to. They were all so grateful that we could see them and at no cost.

From this trip we have so far organized two children to go to Israel for complex surgery, we have found 12 patients that require surgery which we will help facilitate. We have started a relationship with KCMC and Moshi so that next time we come we will have many more children to screen.

Next stop is Ndanda in the south of Tanzania – stay tuned!


Tags:  East Africa,