From Finland to Tanzania

A nursing adventure

Tag Archives: Massana Hospital

Practice continues…..

My first few weeks in practice have been interesting, entertaining, frustrating and sometimes sad.  One of the premature babies had died because the hospital didn’t have the resources to take care of the baby.  Also, geriatric care is very limited compared to Finland.  I think this is because life expectancy is so short here : 58 years compared to 79 years in Finland.  I have read that the percentage of 65+ in Finland is 17% and in Tanzania it is less than 3%.  The leading causes of deaths in Tanzania are HIV/AIDs, malaria, pneumonia, stroke, diarrheal diseases and coronary heart disease, whereas in Finland they are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, dementia and alzheimers disease, respiratory diseases and alcohol-related diseases.  As life expectancy is improving in Tanzania, I think there will be more need for geriatric expertise in nursing as more of the age related diseases will become more common.

On the upside, I have been at  a caesarean section and 3 deliveries and I have seen several operations in the operating theatre.

I have also cannulated,done injections and helped to prepare the IV lines, medication and documentation.  I have only ever used computers to document patients records, so it has been quite challenging and time-consuming to read and write everything!

We have also visited the baby clinic in the hospital, which is well run and has lots of information about pregnancy, contraception and HIV in mothers and babies.  Mothers and children come here during pregnancy and for follow up monitoring and immunizations, HIV testing etc.

The hospital has many positive sides such as the well baby clinics and treating malaria and HIV but I think it will be challenging in the future as life expectancy increases for the health services to care for elderly people and age-related diseases.

Here are some more pictures from the hospital


As you can see, the equipment is basic, like I said before.  Hygiene and handwashing are of different standards.  There are no proper soap or hand sanitizers to wash your hands and no kind of paper towels to dry them.  There is also an interesting array of animal life in the hospital.  There are birds nesting in the walls, cockroaches scuttling across the emergency room floor and we even saw a  baby gecko sat on the anesthesia equipment during an operation.  I don’t think the anesthetist even noticed!


Practical training starts

I started my practical training at Massana Hospital .  It is about 20 minutes travel from our accomodation in Bahari beach.  My first day there was quite a shock.  Even though it is a private hospital, by Finnish standards it is quite dirty and has basic equipment.  But, as with most things, it just seems to work.

I realized straight away that the nursing is quite different to what I have experienced before.  I think this is because the family members do so much of the basic care of the patients including dressing and feeding the patient and being with them most of the day.

I met my mentor Dennis and two other AIT volunteers there.  We started with night nurse’s shift report about patients who were already there.  We were mostly in the emergency room and day clinic and today was a comparably busy day.  There were patients from young to old, with diseases ranging from malaria to sickle cell anaemia, along with age related disorders such as hypertension and stroke to young children with severe burns.  It was quite a shock to get such a wide diversity of patients, but it was interesting to see how the nurses dealt with each case.  We also spent the day in the ‘dressing’ room where patients with wounds come for post-surgical dressing changes, stitch removal and other small procedures. We also went to the labour ward and looked round the neonatal unit and looked after a premature baby born at 30 weeks

After a hard day’s work we went to Kunduchi Beach, about 20 minutes tuktuk ride away