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Learning Together

We have successfully completed our first week of clinical rotations at Kilema hospital but sadly will begin our last week here in Tanzania. After researching Tanzania for about two months now for our Community Health class assignment, I think I can speak for the whole group when I say there is no way we could have learned more from our findings than we have by physically being here and involved in their community in just a few days. A popular topic we have been actively discussing amongst each other thus far includes the numerous differences there are between America’s and Tanzania’s health care practices. One in particular difference that another classmate, Rebecca, and I got to experience was on Wednesday’s clinical day in the Maternity Theater. Over the past semester during our maternity rotation in America, we were encouraged to never leave a laboring woman alone, thus increasing nurse-patient trust and facilitating the mother’s labor. We noticed in the Maternity Theater yesterday that there was a much higher nurse-to-patient ratio resulting with less time to spend personally with each laboring woman. With previous training as a Doula, or a “birthing coach,” Rebecca and I were able to provide one of the patients with non-pharmacological techniques, such as applying sacral pressure to her back, walking her around the facility and practicing Lamaze breathing techniques, to help her get through her painful contractions. The laboring patient seemed very receptive to our help and was appreciative that we were able to be there supporting her through the birth. It was cool to see that as students we are able to give that extra time we had to provide that kind of support. Afterwards, the nurse expressed to us how these techniques were either not something they were familiar with or that they did not have the time to provide them. She said how happy she was that our group could be here so that we could all learn from each other and expressed the importance of learning together. It’s always better when we’re together.