Versatility and Collaboration at FAME

By Volunteer Saja Erens


One of the first things that struck me at FAME was how versatile the Tanzanian medical staff is. At one moment, you will find them doing a complicated surgery, the next moment they are assisting a delivery, managing a premature baby, dealing with a psychotic patient, or treating a child with a severe viral or bacterial infection. In the relatively short period I stayed as a volunteer, I saw quite a lot of interesting, sometimes “exotic”, medical cases and I learned a lot about conditions I had no previous experience with.

Sometimes we had puzzling cases and had to put everyone’s knowledge and efforts together to find the right approach. For example, we had a case with a pregnant lady who presented herself with severe joint pain and diabetes. We tried different medications that were available, but to no avail. One of the volunteering internists suggested Sulfasalazine, which became accessible at FAME with the help of the pharmacy staff. It finally relieved the patient’s pain and we could see her smiling again.

Another great example of the collaboration at FAME was when we received a pregnant woman who had been rushed to FAME due to complications. The doctors in charge were very fast with diagnosing her with an erupted ectopic pregnancy and even faster with rushing her to the operating theatre and saving her life. Other available staff members responded quickly in finding blood donors and stabilizing the patient after the operation. I was very proud of the staff involved and how they handled this emergency, from the first call to the hospital to the aftercare by the nurses, and the way everybody tried to help the husband cope with this rather traumatic experience. With the entire team working together, I encountered a passion for making both the patient and their families feel better.

Kathrine Kuhlmann