University of the West of England (UWE) 2018
I travelled to Tanzania in Africa for my midwifery elective placement.
I’m not one of those people who has an extensive travel history, so the time leading up to my placement was daunting.
But Work the World were great at keeping in contact and making sure I knew exactly what was happening every step of the way. They phoned me well in advance of my placement, talking through what to expect and how to prepare.
For the placement itself, I was mainly on the delivery suite at a regional hospital in the city of Dar es Salaam. We had a day of orientation where the Work the World team introduced us to the local midwives and took us on a tour of the departments we’d be spending time in.
Being in the regional hospital was a surreal experience, and one I will hold with me forever.
There were cultural differences in practice, which were difficult to observe at times. On the other hand, seeing midwives manage a primary postpartum haemorrhage with the bare minimum was amazing. It was quite something to see how resourceful they could be with such little equipment.
I had the privilege of being alongside these midwives, learning skills that would be useful in rural community settings in the UK when equipment was sparse or inaccessible.
Here’s a tip — bring plenty of gloves with you and keep them in your pockets. Women rarely give warning as to when they’re pushing!
Some Tanzanian medical students were on their OBG placements whilst I was on delivery suite.
Their methods differed from that of the midwives. They were taught in English and seemed to have a more comprehensive knowledge of aseptic techniques and the importance of hand washing.
I exchanged a lot of knowledge with local students. I spoke with them about basic anatomy and the significance of looking for restitution once the baby’s head had delivered.
Many of the qualified doctors were quicker in wanting to deliver the baby than we are typically in the UK. This meant the women were more likely to tear.
But, exchanging knowledge like this at the start of our careers gave me hope that we could influence each others’ future practice, improving the outcomes for all our patients.
Travelling to Africa isn’t an opportunity that comes around often. So, I wanted to see and do as much as I could. However, there were plenty of activities to do in Dar Es Salaam itself.
At weekends we did plenty of different activities. We went to Mikumi National Park on safari and travelled to the island of Zanzibar!
The Work the World team really helped us soak up all the culture with their dancing, food and Swahili lessons in the house!
Thursday nights were BBQ night. This was my favourite! We really got to let our hair down and chat with our housemates and local staff.
I made incredible friends from all over the world and made memories with them that will last forever.
Friends become like family over there. The journey is something you all go through together, which for me made it so much easier.
I remember reading reviews (like this one) before I made my decision and, I can honestly say it was the best experience.