2014 has been a year of consolidation and planning the best way forward. We have introduced two long term projects working on healthcare in Tanzania, to our Dr’s on Safari programmes, and both will take giant steps forward in 2015.
Having met with Jo and Mark Topley early in 2014, we were introduced to the Bridge to Aid charity which has profoundly changed the standards of dental care in all its areas of operation in Tanzania (www.bridge2aid.org). Its centre of operation is in Mwanza, in the far West of Tanzania, and it has been its own excellent clinic in the city.
The main purpose of Bridge2aid is to train heath workers in rudimentary dental care and safe extractions. Great swathes of Tanzania have no single person able to offer the most basic dental care and Bridge2aid has helped enormously in improving this situation. Their programmes involve volunteer teams of dentists coming out from UK with practice nurses, and working one to one with chosen health workers in each district, over a period of ten days or so, to achieve in them a level of competence sufficient to perform basic dentistry and refer cases when necessary.
The team from Bridge2aid arrived in Saadani, staying at our Simply Saadani Camp, to assess the possibilities of stretching their programmes into new territories, far East of their current areas, on the invitation of Dr’s On Safari. Together we visited the District HQ for Pangani and it was quickly apparent that there is no single dentist over a 200km area from Pangani town on the coast to Handeni.
In June of 2015, a team of six dentists, and five dental nurses will train six, hand-picked health workers from Pangani district and train them from three centres, returning each night to stay free as guests of Tent With A View safaris, at our Simply Saadani Camp. Local people with dental care issues will be invited to be given free treatment to facilitate the training, with surgeries taking place over ten days in Mkwaja, Sakura and Nkalamo. The local hospital will be used in each case and supplemented by one of our Land Rover Suites which will become a mobile surgery in Sakura, and Nkalamo.
A second team of eleven dentists and nurses will undertake the same training, over the same period, in Kisaki village, Morogoro district, staying free at Sable Mountain Lodge as guests of Tent With A View Safaris.
The second programme we will support in 2015 is one being initiated by the US National College of Natural Medicine, under the guidance of Dr Maria Valdez. The college has been bringing students to Tanzania, among other countries, for several years, to learn about the practices of traditional doctors. Dr Valdez intends to bring a team of doctors from USA in July 2015, to work with traditional medicine practitioners and attempt to formulate a best practice plan, perhaps, leading to a first hospital incorporating both traditional and modern medical facilities.