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2009 into africa medical team - tanzania report.pdf

Wycliffe Australia sends its fifth short-term team medical Into
Africa in partnership with SIL Tanzania

The purpose of the primary health-care clinics is to demonstrate to the unreached people groups
where the Scriptures are being translated into their mother tongue, that God cares not only about
their spiritual wellbeing but about them as a whole person. Medical personel from all over
Australia has partnered with Wycliffe Australia in sending this team to Tanzania.
One local pastor said, ‘You not only send your people to tell us who Jesus is, through the translated
Word of God, but you send real doctors and nurses to show us that this Jesus cares for our physical
bodies as well, and your doctors even touched us just like Jesus did when he ministered to people
2,000 years ago.’
The local people said, ‘Why would you come all this way and spend all your money to come and
help us? What makes you do this? And come to give us free medical care? This Jesus you show us
must have a compassionate heart for us people, even here.
So, your Jesus must care for us as whole persons.’
One affirmation of the benefit of such short-term mission trip were given by one African translation
helper during the trip who said. ‘These people are so sick, that even if you make them feel better for
a few days by the treatment you give and the medications you bring, then you encourage them to
seek medical assistance when they are sick.’ Also a Tanzanian pastor, acting as a translator during
the clinics pointed out the ‘tell-tale’ signs that indicated that many of those attending the clinic had
already sought ‘help’ from the traditional medicine man or witchdoctor. The animistic religion that
many of these people practice is tied up integrally with bondage to the medicine man who uses
some quite horrendous methods to try to overcome various illnesses. This pastor said that by
touching the people, examining them, and diagnosing their illness and then treating it, you are
demonstrating that there is something better than what is done to them by the medicine man. This is
breaking the bondage that is over them and showing God cares for them.
In each village location over the 2 weeks of clinics up to 900 patients were treated during the 2 sets
of three days of clinics. That is close to 2,000 people who have been ministered to. In both
situations illnesses ranged from various infections to HIV related illnesses; and lumps and bumps
that were removed under local anaesthesia. Antibiotics were administered, intravenous fluids given,
treatment of parasites was prescribed and surgery performed.
These three day medical clinics in these remote places are where the people get little or no health
The question that arises from these trips is not, ‘What will you do if you go to places like this?’ but,
‘What quality of life will the people in these distant places have, if you don’t go?’
From Tuesday 23rd June to Friday 26th June medical clinics were conducted outside Mbeya. Then the next week on 30th June clinics were held in Pahi east of Kondoa until Friday 3rd July. Medical personnel on the team included doctors, nurses, paramedics, phamacists and a number of medical assistants. Approximately 300 patients per day were seen and although we tried to keep accurate records, the sheer numbers made this almost impossible some days. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 were seen during the three days of clinics of each set of clinics. Patients were triaged by the paramedics and their support staff and patients were treated on a priority basis. The medical staff from Australia assessed and treated patients within the church building. The pharmacy for distribution of free medications was set up on the raised area at the front of the church building so that medications could be distributed through the side window while at the same time ensuring security over the medication supplies. A minor operations area for surgical excisions under local anaesthesia was established on the raised area opposite the pharmacy but separated off by a partition. On one side of the building a baby clinic was established while on the other side a dressings and wound clinic was developed, both staffed by nurses. Instrument sterilization and boiling water was provided and was established behind the building so that instruments could be passed through the windows without having to be taken through the people lining up for assessment and treatment. The following medical conditions were seen in these first three days of clinics: Respiratory infections (many) Skin conditions including ringworm and scabies Malaria Urinary tract infections Diarrhoea disorders (presumed due to both bacterial and parasitic infections) Eye conditions including vitamin A deficiency resulting in night blindness, a few cases of likely trachoma and some eye trauma as well as cataracts; the youngest person seen with a cataract was a boy aged 9. After discussion with the clinical officers and other translators, it was suggested he may attend an eye hospital in Mbeya. Ear infections Malnutrition – a number of cases were seen in young children Non-specific abdominal pains Pelvic inflammatory disease (a couple of cases of PID were seen and treated) A suspected case of tuberculosis Many patients presented with generalized aches and pains, particularly in the back and neck, probably due to osteoarthritis A number of patients presented with various skin and subcutaneous lumps and underwent excision under local anaesthesia. The medical conditions seen were similar to those listed above, however there was a greatly increased number of people presenting with likely Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), often presenting with blood in the urine or bowel motion. There seeme d to be more diarrhoeal diseases, more abdominal pains with suspected peptic ulceration. Again, some cases of trachoma were seen, however the numbers were not as high as we had anticipated as previous 2 years ago . We noted that alcohol consumption appeared to be increased in this area, up to 5 litres per day, as there was less water available. One case of HIV was seen with a likely Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Interestingly, many presented saying that they suffered from “worms”. In the three days of clinics we exhausted all the supplies of the following medications due to the conditions treated: 1. Albendazole 2. Amoxil 3. Paracetamol 4. Doxycycline 5. Ciproxin 6. Norfloxacin 7. Flagyl The following medications were in surplus and were left with Mark and Caroline Ossola for further distribution: 1. Praziquantel 2. Antibiotic syrups – Many of the children preferred to take tablets 3. Keflex 4. Antacid tablets – about half the tablets were left 5. Cimetadine 6. Two ventolin inhalers We believe that the patients whom we saw benefited from the treatment they were given. Those who underwent minor operations had their wounds checked the following day to ensure they were recovering well. All expressed their gratitude. We were sent word that the chiefs of the people had sent well individuals to our medical clinics feigning illness to see how they would be treated and they had reported that the chiefs were happy with the care that was offered. PAHI CLINICS REPOPT
The second week medical clinics were conducted in Pahi, north east of Dodoma, Tanzania. Medical personal included 1 Australian doctor, 1 Tanzanian clinic worker/doctor nurses paramedic, Phamacists and medical assistants. The local clinic was used with some buildings still being built. It was nice to be able to lock the door at the end of the day and walk up the hill to our accommodation, without having to pack up the meds., then unpack again the following day. Over the three days of clinic we triaged and treated about 900 people. Medical conditions that were seen included the following: At the end of the clinics we were again able to leave some unused medicines with Sampson the clinic worker/doctor, which were much appreciated and some went to the places that SIL We believe that the patients we treated benefited from us being there and were satisfied with the treatments they were given. Our visit was appreciative of the Tanzanian Health authorities and SIL for organizing the clinics and for allowing us to come and work with locals for the benefit of the Tanzanian people. o Scabies o Ring worm o Eczema o Bacterial skin infections o Skin ulcers of all sorts (mostly infective / some venous ulceration of a foot / ?? o General respiratory infections o Suspected TB o Conjunctivitis particularly in children ++ o Trachoma o Vitamin A Deficiency o “River blindness” ( 1-2 cases) • Penile discharge presumably STD’s ?? gonorrhoea • Abdominal pains (many non specific we could have prescribed more antacids and Cimetidine that we did as we had some left over) • Schistosomiasis (presenting with hematuria and blood in motions) not as much as encountered elsewhere but is seasonal and varies depending on how wet it has been…
Problems where little could be done
• Hydrocephalus
• Serious tumours (facial / abdominal masses)
Comment: Women seemed to be breast feeding well and baby malnutrition was not a major
problem in Mbeya
The following are notes about medications. These comments have been used to make adjustments
to medication requirements and have been reflected in information provided to Carolyn Ossola
who is ordering the medications.

Medications which we ran out of:


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