Tanzania Rotation Offers Students Opportunity to Practice in Underserved, Rural Area

Over the past few years, many pharmacy students have begun to look forward to the multidisciplinary experiential rotation in Tanzania. This year, Sarah Lebens, Emily Mattson and Grace Tian were selected to go on the five-week rotation in rural Tanzania. They stayed and worked at the Ilula Lutheran Hospital, which has had a 14-year partnership with the University of Minnesota.

Each day offered the students with a variety of learning experiences. They participated in patient care in the general ward and maternal ward CTC (HIV/AIDS) Clinic, child health clinic, mobile clinics, laboratory observation, labor and delivery, and assisted on C-sections and other minor operations. Their experiences in Tanzania allowed them to build a better cultural understanding of the healthcare field, and gain an irreplaceable amount of practice working on a health care team.

“It was a fabulous experience working in Tanzania in an interprofessional group alongside physicians, medical residents, pharmacists, a dietitian and psychologist, medical and pharmacy students, and pre-medical students from the U.S. and Tanzania,” said Mattson. “It was an opportunity to work and learn together to provide the best care for the patients. What I learned in Tanzania I will apply in my own career as I start a pharmacy residency in which I will collaborate with other health care professionals on a daily basis to provide the best care for our patients.”

The students also were able to participate in the second annual Ilula-Minnesota Health Conference, where they presented on pain management, micronutrient deficiencies and diabetes management. The conference was attended by approximately 100 people from more than 20 hospitals — almost a 75 percent attendance increase from last year.

“Overall, the two day conference was very well received. All the attendees received a folder from us with a CD enclosed including all the lecture presentations we gave so that they can bring these resources back to their hospital,” recalled Tian. “On one of the surveys filled out by a Tanzania attendee, it said, ‘I wish the conference can be five days!’”