A few weeks ago, our blog highlighted a visit to Arise School by 10 medical students from the U.K. who were in Tanzania as part of the Kilimanjaro Community Support Project (KiCS). On that occasion, the students were helping out with the Saturday afternoon Kisimani Kids’ Club.
Like education, health care is still denied to so many Tanzanians, especially in the remote and impoverished areas. The students have since returned to the school and used it as a base to provide a medical dispensary to the surrounding community. In conjunction with two local medical practitioners and a local nurse, in one day, they provided medical advice, treatment and medicines to 130 people. All the costs were met by the students themselves.
One of them, Cindy, writes:
“This year I had the great pleasure of being the first Liverpool medical student to join the KiCS project in their amazing work in Tanzania. As part of the project, we carried out a dispensary in a village called Wiri, held in Arise Community School.
I was overwhelmed by how many people turned up. For many, this was the first opportunity they have had to see a doctor in many years as they barely make enough to get by and medical care is not free here. I felt very privileged to be part of a dispensary that offered a consultation and the medication free of charge to, not only the community, but to many who had traveled many miles to get here.
It really made me wonder how life would be without the NHS! How many people would suffer because of it; how strange it would be to call patients ‘clients’ and, perhaps, how much more grateful people would feel for the medical care they did receive.
I was deeply touched when a very impoverished, severely malnourished, very shy, withdrawn 2 year old little girl said “thank you” to me for simply listening to her chest. No words can describe the tidal wave of emotion that washes over you when such a fragile and vulnerable child reaches out to you with such simple but tender words and how overwhelmingly protective yet helpless you feel towards them.
I strongly feel that free medical care should be available to all and, after seeing a grandmother struggling in to see the doctor with 7 of her grandchildren having walked for half a day to get here, it really makes you appreciate the medical care that we take for granted.”
Cindy Rodrigues Cleto.