Screening Day Success – Tanzania 2018

The challenges here in Tanzania at the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (ALMC) are staggering. There are 50 million people in the country, but only 150 surgeons! The lack of sub-specialty doctors means general surgeons are used for surgical issues head-to-toe.

The CSI team is ready to help. Our focus at ALMC is to share our skills and knowledge — not take over their hospital. The team has assured the local staff that we will be sensitive to their culture and respectful of their practices. The CSI team, many with extensive experience on similar trips, have huge hearts and highly specialized training in their fields. They are eager to share their knowledge and experience with the local nurses and doctors.

The rhythm and routine of home quickly faded away when the CSI team screened 42 patients for potential surgeries. Many more patients will be evaluated and added to the surgery list this week. The patients not yet ready for surgery were sent to The Plaster House, a local facility similar to our Ronald McDonald house, to get the necessary support to be healthy for surgery in the future.

On screening day, the Tanzanian people flocked to us. Their emotion-rich voices and questioning eyes told the story. I could read the pain and hope in the parents’ eyes. They are the real heroes here. Families in economically deprived countries often have limited access to information and little means to travel. Against all odds they came with their medically fragile children — hoping for help.

I entered this experience raw, never before being a provider of care. I am humbled by the gratitude of the local people, and I am proud to be a part of this life-changing nonprofit organization. I am witnessing the transforming effects that CSI makes. My heart feels full, and we’ve only just begun.

~ Susan McMullan, CSI Medical Records Volunteer