Day 5 – Malaria in Arusha

February 24, 2011

We rounded this morning at a private hospital in Arusha. For 10,000 Tanzanian shillings you can see a specialist, ($1 USD equals 1,500 shillings). For a medical visit it is 5,000 shillings. The hospital is cleaner; there is even a “VIP” room with a TV. We still see lots of malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and HIV. I still don’t see much use of gloves, masks, or gowns. Everything runs very slow, the rounds, the work-up of patients, and the doctors whisper the cases which makes it very hard to hear and move through the rounds. We have to ask him repeatedly to speak up. In Tanzania in some areas it is considered more polite to speak in a quiet tone, it is not for patient confidentiality. The patients are “admitted” more often to the hospital to stay which we think is due in part to the pace of the work-up of the patient.

We then went to Tarangire National Park to view Tsetse Flies and Tsetse traps. This type of fly can carry African Trypanosomiasis, also known as “African Sleeping Sickness”. Once bitten the parasite can eventually move to the brain if left untreated and cause meningoencephalitis, the appearance may mimic dementia as the disease can take months to years to progress. Measures to control the flies have involved “traps”. The flies are drawn to the colors dark blue and black and actual movement. These traps are impregnated to stop the fly from breeding. We did see these flies and the bite hurts.

While in this park we saw a part of what makes Africa amazing, the landscape. It is the most beautiful I have ever seen. We see giraffes, zebras, elephants, baboons, one group sees a leopard but our group missed it! We make sure we are out of the park and on the dirt roads to get to our next destination Karatu before dark.

Patient in private hospital, notice the sink is not working behind him and family provided sheets and drinks.

Tsetse Fly Trap