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Improving the quality of medical care provided in Lindi Rural District

The project was implemented at St Walburg’s Hospital in Nyangao, located in the Lindi Rural Region of southern Tanzania near the border with Mozambique. The medical institution also serves as the Lindi Rural District Hospital, which admits patients from the regions of Lindi Rural and Mtwara; and as a referral hospital, i.e. one to which patients with more complex medical conditions are referred. Aside from a small number of patients from cities and towns, it is the rural population that constitutes the majority of the unit’s patients. One of the problems this hospital grapples with is a constant lack of qualified physicians with relevant professional experience, especially medical specialists, including trauma specialists and endocrinologists who can diagnose diabetes types and prescribe appropriate and effective therapies. This is a serious problem, as diabetes is a chronic condition on a steep rise in Tanzania. In order to tackle these problems, the project provided relevant training courses for local physicians.

The Science for Development Foundation had not collaborated with the Nyangao Hospital previously, but the activities within the scope of the project may be considered a continuation of the support the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland provided to the hospital in 2015 under its Small Grants System, which included, among other things, the procurement of medical devices and the renovation of the hospital’s surgical ward. Support provided through the present project relied on knowledge and skills of the volunteers from Poland, physicians with two different specialisations: an orthopaedic surgeon and a diabetologist.

Improving the quality of medical care provided in Lindi Rural District

The project was implemented between 14 June 2016 and 31 December 2016 at the initiative of the Science for Development Foundation and the Catholic Diocese of Lindi. The volunteers resided in Nyangao on two occasions: one of the volunteers from 2 September 2016 to 13 October 2016 and the other from 28 September 2016 to 23 November 2016.

The purpose of the project was to improve the level of knowledge and practical skills of the medical and auxiliary staff of St Walburg’s Hospital regarding the forms and methods for providing specialised medical care, and particularly of orthopaedic and diabetes care, which, it is hoped, will translate into improved quality of the medical services provided by the facility.

In their training for the medical and auxiliary staff, the volunteer physicians focused on presenting the latest treatment methods, as well as disease symptoms and side effects of therapies used in causal treatment, as applied in Poland and throughout the world. The training syllabus also included general principles governing medical care and consultation and performance of medical interventions. Class activities were divided into theoretical and practical parts.

The project also included activities aimed at broadening awareness among Poles of the problems of the developing world, the idea of volunteering and the objectives of Polish development cooperation.

The project contributed to achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3, i.e. of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.

Improving the quality of medical care provided in Lindi Rural District

As a result of the project – which consisted mainly of seminars and training sessions conducted by the volunteers – the medical and auxiliary staff of St Walburg’s Hospital in Nyangao obtained a compendium of knowledge on modern methods of treating orthopaedic and diabetic conditions. At the same time, through seminars and practical training sessions on operating an electrocardiograph, hospital staff learned how to use the equipment procured and funded under the project, thus improving the quality of their daily work. The hospital staff were also able to draw on the theoretical knowledge taught in the course of weekly meetings devoted to experience sharing and discussion of patient cases. The hospital staff also received training material that the volunteers prepared on electronic media and in printed form. The volunteers also provided staff with written treatment guidelines.

The results of the volunteers’ activities contributed to the improvement of the quality of medical services that St Walburg’s Hospital in Nyangao provides to its patients. The hospital’s medical services were expanded to include care for diabetes patients, now provided through a recently established outpatient clinic. The range of dispensed drugs was also expanded.

The hospital in Nyangao has registered a general improvement in the health condition of patients under its care. It ascribes this to the series of consultations and medical procedures conducted by the volunteers, the implementation of treatment guidelines for patients, and the introduction of ECG diagnostics, with all the medical personnel having been trained in use of the ECG machine.

The five entries (partially bilingual, Polish-English) posted between 3 July 2016 and 30 December 2016 on the Facebook page of the Science for Development Foundation, which included write-ups and photographs of the progress made under the project, were viewed by about 3,920 readers.