Iringa Regional Hospital: A Rare Opportunity To Get A Real Perspective Of What Being A Doctor Is Really Like

November 28, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

See current opportunities

No matter how much you may read or learn about becoming a doctor, the theory can never really give you the real story or prepare you life as a doctor. If you are planning on pursuing a career in medicine but are not sure whether you are making the right choice, one of the best things you can do is to participate in a medical placement program. Gap Medic organises medical placements to Iringa Regional Hospital in Tanzania where you can get a close up look of what being a doctor really is like. 

Gap Medics student Liam working in the paediatrics department in Tanzania, whilst on his hospital work experience placement. Iringa Hospital has a total of 365 beds, which is far too few for the number of patients that the hospital deals with each and every day. For the duration of the placement, you will get the opportunity to shadow doctors across different specialties from general practice and obstetrics to paediatrics and emergency care while also getting a firsthand experience of what it is like to work in different departments in a hospital.

Tanzania is a developing country and the medical facilities in the country leave much to be desired. Here you are not going to find advanced medical equipment and fancy hospitals. Instead, the hospitals and hospital staff work under spartan conditions, treating and caring for critically ill patients with the most basic of amenities and facilities.

Unlike hospitals in more advanced countries where the common causes for admission are usually accidents or ailments of the rich, in Iringa Hospitals the patients you are most likely to eat are children who are severely malnourished and pregnant women suffering from pregnancy related complications that are caused mainly due to illiteracy and lack of proper hygiene and/or proper nutrition. Infectious diseases is another area of medicine that is very common here and which is not seen in most other developed countries of the world.

The biggest advantage of doing a medical placement in Iringa Hospital in Tanzania is that it gives you insight and experience into medical practice that you could never have gotten anywhere else. It gives you a realistic view of how hospitals function in third world countries.  In almost all departments, tired but compassionate medical professionals put in superhuman efforts to dispense the best medical care they can with the meagre resources and facilities that they have to work with. Under such stringent circumstances, it is not surprising that there are several ethical dilemmas they have to battle with almost daily in dispensing care judiciously. 

In addition to the medical work experience itself, a placement in Iringa Hospital opens up a wonderful world of adventure that promises to be unique, exotic and thrilling. Not very far from the hospital is the Ruaha National Park. With about 500 different bird species and home to almost every kind of African wild animal, a weekend trip to the Park is a must-do if you choose to do a placement in Iringa.