A Young Anesthesiologist is Making a Difference in Tanzania

Daisy WinnerBlog, Medicine, Tanzania

img_4352In Tanzania, a country with only 22 anesthesiologists for more than 49 million people, guaranteeing your time spent in the hospital will be pain free, can be hard to secure.

As a young anesthesiologist, Lukasola “Luka”, is committed to providing his patients the care needed to control and manage their pain. Luka is one of the four Masters in Medicine (MMed) Anesthesiology residents at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) that Seed Global Health has committed to supporting over the next three academic years. For Luka, it was his experience in a district hospital that inspired him to pursue anesthesiology,

“I was working as a medical practitioner at a district hospital. And we were having very poor patients who were not recovering well. And I discovered that one of the reasons why we were having very poor output from our surgery activities was because of anesthesia. Patients were not receiving enough Ketamine (a type of anesthetic), and were in pain. I found that if a patient can receive anesthesia, their pain is controlled, everyone is happy. So that is why I had to go for anesthesia”

Today, surgically treatable diseases account for one-third of morbidity and mortality around the world. Safe surgery is extremely difficult without reliable anesthesia and access to an anesthesiologist can ensure that pain is managed during a patient’s recovery.

Luka was first drawn to medicine after he befriend the local doctor in his village in northern Tanzania. He recalls, “It went from this doctor, he became like a friend to me, and then from that, I got in my head that I can be like him”. Encouraged by his doctor, Luka excelled in school and entered an exchange program that allowed him to attend Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Uganda, another Global Health Service Partnership site.

After finishing his medical degree at MUST he went on to complete his internship at Bugundo Medical Centre in northern Tanzania. He quickly learned the difference an anesthesiologist can make in the outcome of a patient.

“You can see very how positive [anesthesia] can be within a short amount of time … As a doctor, when I help someone, and they recover quickly, it makes me very happy. It makes me feel like I am making a difference”
After Luka completes his training, MUHAS has committed to hiring him, and the other three residents, so they can continue to train other young physicians in anesthesia. To ensure that patients undergo safe surgery and make sure their pain is managed as they recover, an adequate number of well-trained anesthesiologists is critical. By supporting Luka and his peers, Seed is supporting the future of anesthesia in Tanzania and we are already starting to make a difference,

“What you need to understand is the population of this country is about 50 million people. And we can’t do this alone,” says Luka.  “We need your people and we appreciate what you are doing for us because we can’t move our own and we thank you”.

To support Luka and safe anesthesia in Tanzania, donate to our crowdfunded campaign HERE.