This post was written by Carlee Clark, MD
This past September I had the opportunity to return to Haydom, Tanzania with the Madaktari Program. This trip was special for many reasons. I had the opportunity to see where and how the Madaktari program originated. In addition, I had the fortune of making this trip with several other MUSC physicians: Drs. Dilantha Ellegala and Sunil Patel from the Neurosurgery department, Dr. Del Schutte from Orthopedics, and Drs. Eric Powers and Peter Zwerner from Cardiology. I described my trip to many as a week spent at a medical church camp. We stayed in hospital housing with the visiting Norwegian physicians, nursing students and medical students. We ate all of our meals together, attended morning medical rounds, went to the daily sala or church service, and conducted radiology rounds together. I even managed to change a few dirty diapers at the hospital orphanage. The rest of our time was involved in patient care where I spent an entire day with the anesthetists doing cases with Dr. Schutte. Several days were spent seeing patients and teaching the medical students and neurosurgeons how to do a preoperative evaluation for neurosurgical patients. Together, Dr. Patel and I helped them do their first thoracic laminectomy. I also taught them how to do an epidural steroid injection under fluoroscopy, which required a little “MacGyvering,” but in the end the patient felt better than she had in years. Drs. Powers and Zwerner were all over the hospital with their handheld ultrasound diagnosing structural heart diseases and changing management. Getting to visit their hospital, participate in taking care of their patients, and teach them how to use what they have to practice better medicine was a privilege. What made this trip unforgettable was that I was able to do this while getting to know and work with MUSC colleagues. I am even more inspired to continue our involvement in Madaktari because not only will we be helping the people of Tanzania, but we might also be making healthcare at MUSC better by building relationships with other departments.