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International Medical Internships in Tanzania

Overview
Project Overview
  • PLACEMENT LOCATION: Arusha and Dar es Salaam
  • ROLE: To work alongside skilled local staff and gain meaningful medical experience
  • Requirements: None
  • TYPES OF PLACEMENTS: Hospitals, health clinics, and medical outreach work
  • MAIN DEPARTMENTS: General Medicine, Maternity, Surgery, and Pediatrics.
  • ACCOMMODATION: Host family
  • LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
  • START DATES: Flexible

Interning abroad on a Projects Abroad Medicine internship in Tanzania is an excellent way to gain experience, combined with the chance to help people in some of the poorest medical institutions in the developing world.

Projects Abroad works with both small health clinics and large government hospitals in Tanzania. This gives interns the unique opportunity to work in a variety of different departments and to work closely alongside local doctors and nurses.

Medicine interns in Tanzania work with a variety of medical institutions in and around the town of Arusha in northern Tanzania and in the coastal city of Dar es Salaam. In both the smaller health clinics and the larger hospitals interns will find themselves working with patients who have a wide range of illnesses.

There are many different departments in the majority of the hospitals we work with including maternity, general medicine, surgery, and pediatrics. Interns can choose whether they want to work in a variety of different departments or whether they want to focus on one in particular.

Please note that if you are a pre-med student or have no previous medical experience, you will be placed in Arusha, not Dar es Salaam.

Interning Abroad in Medicine in Tanzania with Projects Abroad

Your exact role within the hospital or clinic will be determined by your level of medical experience as well as by the enthusiasm and effort which you show to the local staff. Pre-university interns usually start by observing the doctors and nurses. You may find more practical opportunities arise once you get to know the local staff and if you can demonstrate a good understanding of local medical conditions.

A Tanzanian woman receives help from a Projects Abroad intern on the Medicine project.

The role of interns who already have some medical experience also varies and it is important to build up trust and a good relationship with the local doctors.

Facilities within the hospitals and clinics are basic and treatments are sometimes not of the standard we would expect in North America. You should be prepared to see some shocking cases, and try not to get emotionally involved with the patients.

Your working hours will usually be decided on a weekly basis and most volunteers work from Monday to Friday and have the weekends free.

Projects Abroad also organizes regular medical outreach work and workshops for our medical interns in both Dar es Salaam and Arusha. This will give you a greater understanding of the medical system in Tanzania.

Interns carry out outreach work in local disadvantaged communities providing healthcare services that would not otherwise be available. This provides you with the opportunity to carry out vital work in a community based environment.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Tanzania Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.

You will stay with a local Tanzanian host family. They will welcome you into their family and you can learn about their daily lives and Tanzanian culture. You can spend your free time exploring the area with the Projects Abroad volunteer community.

The Maasai Medical Project in Tanzania with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad also works closely with a Maasai community hospital, which is under-resourced and under-staffed. If you have an interest or experience in the medical field and would like to work closely with a rural community, this is the perfect option for you. Interns work alongside local doctors and nurses in a variety of different hospital departments. Facilities at the hospital are basic and treatments are sometimes not of the standard one would expect in North America. You should be prepared to see some shocking cases and try not to become emotionally involved with the patients. Ninety per cent of the patients are Maasai and the hospital runs regular community outreach programs in order to educate and treat the more remote members of the community.

Traditions of the Maasai tribe allowed medical treatment to be done at home and only serious cases were admitted to hospital – this is slowly changing and more people are using the hospital for general treatment and check-ups. The hospital is proud to have recently opened a new maternity unit and is encouraging Maasai women to use the medical facilities available to them when they are experiencing a difficult pregnancy. It is important that interns are open-minded and are sensitive to the cases that they may see.

Given that this hospital is severely understaffed it is important to remember that the doctors and nurses are very busy. If you have no medical experience then you may find this placement quite challenging. Interns will have limited supervision from the local medical staff and will need to be prepared to use their own initiative and get involved in some the basic routine jobs in the hospital including making beds, washing floors, and cleaning the sheets.

You will be living with other volunteers close to the hospital. The accommodation will be basic, but comfortable.

Medicine internships in Tanzania are available for shorter periods than 4 weeks. While you will be able to gain valuable medical experience on a short-term trip, we recommend staying for a longer period to allow yourself more time to get to know the local medical system, see more of a variety of conditions and procedures, and develop stronger relationships with local medical staff. Please note that the Maasai Medical Project is only available from four weeks. 

If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Tanzania.

Volunteer Profile Volunteer Mario Martinez shares his volunteer story from the Medicine project in Tanzania
Mario Martinez
I feel so fortunate to have been able to be a part of such a life changing experience. I went into this program expecting to learn more about the practice of medicine; I left with that and with much more. I was able to develop great relationships with the doctors and nurses on staff and I also found myself making truly meaningful bonds with the patients themselves. Read more...
Tanzania Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan

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