Engineering World Health in Tanzania
During this program, I traveled to Tanzania, lived in the culture, spoke the language, and interacted extensively with the community, both in my homestay and in the hospital where I worked. I learned simple and innovative fixes to medical equipment using limited resources, and applied those skills to assist in repairing medical devices in the hospital. This experience opened my eyes to the range of lifestyles and the healthcare system in the developing world.
One of the most memorable moments during this trip occurred when I was speaking with an international medical student who was learning and working in a lower class Tanzanian hospital. She described that it was heartbreaking to have the ability to save a patient using a known medicine, but was unable to obtain that medicine because the hospital did not have it and the patient did not have the money to purchase it from a pharmacy. This experience showed me the importance of engineering better and cheaper medicines for the developing world.
The program began June 13, 2016 and ended August 17, 2016, during which the first month was spent learning about common equipment problems that we might encounter and learning the language and culture by staying with a host family. The second month involved splitting up into pairs, with each pair traveling to a different hospital, and working as technicians in the hospital.