Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim. There are approximately 1.2 million people on this island. We were awoken this morning by the Muslim prayer in the distance. We went to visit the largest hospital in Zanzibar. It is government run and now having seen private, non-profit, and government hospitals, it is clear that the government hospital is not as well organized or efficient. The female doctor in charge is young and impressive. We rounded through some very crowded wards, sometimes 25 people to a room. We see typhoid and many issues of overlapping dysentery and HIV. There is one ventilator for the entire island, let me repeat that one! It is not in use on this day and not one person was in the ICU (intensive care unit), not one. The ICU doctor greets us in scrubs with no shoes on and tells us he prefers to not have infectious diseases in his ICU (If you are reading this blog then at this point you know that most of what we are seeing is infectious and tropical diseases). The female doctor had said she is “trying to change the system before it changes her”. I think about this statement and wish her so much luck.
We completed our rounds and went to see the Spice Farm. Zanzibar is known for their spices such as curry, nutmeg, and cinnamon. We tour through and learned what spices treat certain conditions and get a dose of entertainment from the “butterfly man” (He is already on You Tube for his ability to climb a coconut tree unassisted, while singing and gathering coconuts).