Posted Wednesday 26 October 2022
Two postgraduate nursing students from Kingston University have helped a hospital in Tanzania secure much-needed medical supplies to treat patients in the East African country through a fundraising drive.
Mental health nursing student Molly Davis and adult nursing student Daisy Lipscombe worked at the Meru District Hospital for their elective placement at the end of their first year and were inspired to support the hospital after seeing the challenges staff face day to day.
"Before arriving, we were expecting resources to look a lot different to the hospital environments we were used to, but within days of being there the lack of even basic supplies was really apparent," Daisy explained. "Seeing the staff struggling to take care of people less fortunate than ourselves motivated us to want to do something to help."
One of the most striking experiences that has stuck with them was seeing a patient on a female ward asking for a tissue, but with staff not having any to hand she had to go through her handbag to find one herself. "It was something so basic that we couldn't help her with and it was just one of the major differences we noticed in the provisions available," Molly said.
Molly from Ashford, Surrey and Daisy from Hampton, Richmond upon Thames, raised more than £600 for the hospital in two weeks through a JustGiving page, exceeding their original target of £250. With the money raised, they bought a range of medical supplies for the hospital before returning home, including electronic blood pressure machines, manual blood pressure machines, pulse oximeters, stethoscopes, bandages, personal protective equipment (PPE), notepads and pens for staff, and cleaning essentials.
They are now continuing to raise money for the hospital from the UK and hope to send some additional supplies back to Tanzania. "The lack of privacy for patients was something we were really conscious of - there were no curtains between the hospital beds," Molly said. "My partner works in an upholstery business and we're hoping to make some privacy curtains with the additional money we raise."
The students spoke of the experience they gained working in different scenarios, ranging from HIV treatment to caesarean sections and wound care.
"We learnt a lot about viruses that we do not see often in the UK and have been able to expand our clinical knowledge," Daisy said. "Working at the HIV clinic we learnt how a lack of awareness contributes to its prevalence among communities."
"It gave us invaluable clinical experience but also an understanding of a healthcare system that is completely different to the NHS." Molly added. "The experience has made us both realise that we'd like to help out in a hospital in another developing country once we've qualified."
Senior lecturer in adult nursing in the Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education Michelle Grainger praised the students on their fundraising efforts. "We are all immensely proud of the contribution Molly and Daisy have made to this hospital," she said. "The elective placements are designed to be a rewarding experience that broadens our students' skillset by giving them exposure to clinical practice. Molly and Daisy have taken it one step further by giving back at the same time," she added.