Ahmed Saleh and Lama Obeid at Weill Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza.
Doha: Two students from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) recently returned from a global health education and research program in Tanzania, determined to do more for the sick and poor in under-resourced developing countries.
Second-year medical students Ahmed Saleh and Lama Obeid spent eight weeks of their summer break in Mwanza, the second biggest city in Tanzania, and worked at Weill Bugando Medical Centre.
WCMC-Q’s Department of Global and Public Health sponsors two students every year during the summer break for a global health education and research experience. This is the third group of WCMC-Q students to participate in the programme.
Saleh found significant health issues in Tanzania, as in most developing countries. “There is a lot that can be done to enhance the limited medical services provided in Tanzania and elsewhere. Health education is a key element. I believe it is our duty as medical professionals to limit the spread of infectious diseases by spreading awareness,” he said.
“Being in an environment where resources are very limited challenges you to explore options. This was a great learning opportunity as it teaches you how to look at things in different ways. You have to come up with a diagnosis based on history and physical examination without having any modern testing modalities and this helps you move a step higher in rationalising your decisions and diagnoses.”
For Obeid, it was an opportunity to observe at close range the treatment and effects of infectious diseases such as malaria and TB and other rare infectious diseases. It was also an opportunity to experience African traditions and lifestyle.
“Mostly we attended morning reports and then went around the wards with doctors and students, checking on patients and discussing their problems. We were exposed to a wide range of procedures, and we learned a lot. Often it would be the sort of things you wouldn’t get to see because we come from a different part of the world,” Obeid said.
“Tropical diseases were widely prevalent and seen mostly in late stage because people cannot afford to visit hospital often.”
WCMC-Q Associate Dean for Global Public Health, Dr Ravinder Mamtani, said the programme provided participants with an excellent foundation in global health and clinical research in a part of the world where healthcare resources and treatment options are limited. “These are experiences that you can only gain when you have been put in those situations. It is an amazing opportunity for our students. It sharpens their clinical skills and diagnostic abilities”. The Peninsula