From Dr. Kim Shriner:
After 24 hours of travel, Team Tanzania 2014 landed safely at Kilimanjaro Airport. Greeted by all our extraordinary Tanzanian friends, customs went smoothly and all 86 pieces of baggage and supplies made it onto the lorry. Team members climbed into their respective land rovers and we made our way to Moivaro Lodge. Morning came early, awakened by the hornbills and a glowing Mount Meru. A quick morning hike to see the African sunrise,robust breakfast and then the Team headed out to their respective venues. Here is a synopsis of the day’s activities:
St. Elizabeth Pre Operative clinic: Greeted by our long time friend, Sister Phyllis, and over 100 ortho and plastic clients, the pre op clinic was set up quickly with some of the usual improvisations. Patients were triaged through the nursing tables, then on to see the surgeons, cleared by the medicine physicians (Dr. Rosenberg tapped proved that gastroenterologists make superb internists and Dr. Trieu braved the EKG machine) and finishing off with a visit to the anesthesiologists. Over 40 surgeries have been scheduled and that’s just the beginning. The OR team organized all the equipment and supplies, setting up the rooms and the post operative recovery room. Ultrasound equipment was tested and set up to support surgeries.
Kisongo Medical Clinic: Whizzing through the hustle bustle of morning commute in Arusha, the medical team headed out to Kisongo Village. The main road is under more construction, the dust and bumps as well as herds of Maasai cattle and goats only adding to the African travel experience. Village elders greeted the team. Like a well oiled machine, everyone quickly set up triage tables, patient waiting areas and a makeshift but functional pharmacy. Hot, dusty and crowded is the norm for these clinics, but team members just plowed through seeing over 100 patients. Dr. Powell, our pediatrician, quickly learned that a normal clinic in Africa may include ricketts, unusual infectious diseases, untreated perinatal tragedies, nutritional deficiencies and lots of rashes. Dr. Jeharajah moved smoothly through several dozen patients, working at the bedside, talking to the patient, using stethoscope and the little grey cells to make a diagnosis and treatment plan. No computers or electronic records here, just the doctor and the patient.
Kisongo Veterinary Team: While patients were processed through our dusty clinic, Dr. Emily Green and her team set out with local veterinary officials. Although our Brucellosis project still awaits approval at the National Institute of Medical Research, the vet team got an introduction to animal husbandry in East Africa. An expectant cow got a prenatal exam (animal assistant, Megan Nold was impressed with the ease that Dr. Green performed the bovine gynecologic exam-and the depth of a cow’s uterus.) A lucky goat had an abscess drained and then the team returned to the Clinic to set up further plans.
Home Based Care Team: The team met an inspiring group of HIV infected women from the village who warmly welcomed the Home Based Care Team into their homes. Social worker, Bill Mejia and nurse, Tina Gozalians marched off into the Kisongo dust with the bush bag and water, visiting 7 houses and families. HIV infected patients in East Africa continue their brave journey dealing with this disease in resource limited settings and, thanks to ongoing international and Tanzanian governmental support, now have access to life saving medications.
As the sun set behind Mount Meru, the teams packed up their bags and headed home to Moivaro Lodge fora shower and cold Kilimanjaro, a delicious dinner and surprise birthday song, African style, for Dr. Shriner (complete with zebra chocolate cake.) The adaptability, talents, fortitude, compassion and grit of Teams Tanzania never cease to amaze. Onward.