GHSP Volunteer and Counterpart Supporting and Learning from Each Other

Seed Global HealthBlog

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As a GHSP internal medicine and pulmonary physician in Tanzania, Dr. William Thompson experiences the challenges of working in a resource-limited setting on a daily basis. While he acknowledges that strengthening health care delivery at his hospital will take time, he feels confident that he can “… stay engaged and accept what gradual change [he] can introduce in partnership with [his] physician and nurse colleagues.” Over the past few months, Dr. Thompson has also come to realize the incredible amount he is learning from his colleagues, drawing inspiration from their resilience and commitment to medical education and clinical care.

In addition to giving classroom lectures to medical students and providing bedside teaching and clinical supervision during Major Ward Rounds and in the pulmonary clinic, Dr. Thompson has taken a special initiative to support his faculty counterpart, Professor Magusi, who he has described as both as “…a noteworthy physician and … an excellent counterpart.” Having started the first HIV clinic in Tanzania, Professor Magusi continues to contribute to the fields of HIV and TB and has been the only lung specialist in Tanzania for decades. Dr. Thompson writes, “I have seen many clinicians at the bedside in my career and his ability to connect with patients in that setting is remarkable.” Professor Magusi, however, has gradually lost his sight over the past few years, making his job as a medical educator increasingly difficult. Relying on his 30 plus year mental map of the university and hospital, he continues to work tirelessly to support those affected by HIV and TB.

After giving his computer to a family member, however, Professor Magusi lost his access to a speech recognition software that helped him type, making typing for this publishing academic researcher a significant challenge. He spoke with Dr. Thompson about the value of this software, and how he was having trouble locating it again. Dr. Thompson became committed to obtaining it again for Professor Magusi, and was able to find a promotional offer that allows him to do so free of charge. Having brought an extra pair of headsets/microphones to Tanzania serendipitously, Dr. Thompson gave them to Professor Magusi, allowing him to utilize the software fully.

Dr. Thompson explained that this speech recognition software “is expected to play a role in keeping [Professor Magusi] productive and working at what he loves, teaching young doctors.” With the aid of this software, the productivity of Professor Magusi and the consequential ripple effects from his enhanced teaching can have an impact on his students and colleagues that can help improve health care outcomes in Tanzania for years to come. “I am obviously an admirer of both his gumption and his dedication,” Dr. Thompson concluded. “His story is inspirational”.