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Gynecologist in Africa

Maganzo is a village located in north-western Tanzania with a population of about 3,500, all members of the Sukuma tribe. Agriculture is the population’s main occupation. The Congregation of St Elisabeth has been operating a health centre in the village for several years.

In January 2016, the health centre opened a maternity ward with a clinic for pregnant women and mothers with small children. The ward provides basic check-ups, while also weighing and vaccinating children. On a daily basis, the clinic receives about 20-30 pregnant women and around 50-70 children.

Some of the main health problems the village population faces are malaria, typhoid fever, malnutrition, anaemia, parasitic infections of the gastrointestinal tract, tuberculosis and HIV. They are also prone to injuries and skin infections of all kinds. The health centre’s biggest problem is the general shortage of medical staff, medicines, medical equipment and dressings.

All project activities were designed in response to the needs of the health centre and aimed at helping the local population improve their quality of life and access to healthcare and to deepen health awareness among the Sukuma community.

Gynecologist in Africa

The woman volunteer, who is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, resided in Tanzania from 2 November 2016 to 22 December 2016. The project responded to the problem of the shortage of medical staff at the St Padre Pio Health Centre in Maganzo. The aim was to improve the standard of care and to increase the accessibility of medical services to the local population.

Project tasks included:

1. The work of a physician in the health centre and provision of day-to-day medical care: changing dressings, administering medicines, performing basic patient examinations;

2. Keeping medical records through updating patient card files, which can help future volunteers coming to work at the mission;

3. Caring for pregnant women and performing relevant examinations and check-ups;

4. Assisting with deliveries and taking care of the mothers and children;

5. Performing preventive examinations for the presence of cervical cancer;

6. Introducing improved standards of perinatal care;

7. Organising educational meetings for women on the topic of diseases and conditions involving genitalia;

8. Training medical personnel in the delivery of normal births; and

9. Examining women for fertility problems.

Gynecologist in Africa

The volunteer received 330 patients and assisted with 11 deliveries. More than half of the patients went through fertility testing. She also performed examinations of pregnant women who could also consult her; she cared for mothers and their infants and, where needed, initiated appropriate therapies. When necessary, she referred her patients to a hospital about 100 kilometres away.

The volunteer also dealt with prevention of cervical cancer through cytology lab tests and USG tests. Cervical cancer was diagnosed in several patients. In addition, the volunteer engaged in educational activities focusing on diseases affecting women, and educated her patients about perinatal hygiene; she organised two meetings for women. The volunteer trained hospital staff on the delivery of normal births and on the use of a transcervical Foley catheter for to induce labour.