Medicine Volunteer Projects in Tanzania
- Placement location: Arusha and Dar es Salaam
- Role: To work alongside skilled local staff and gain valuable medical work experience
- Type of placements: Hospitals, health clinics and medical outreach work
- Accommodation: Host family
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Volunteering abroad on a Medicine placement 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, allowing volunteers the unique opportunity to work in a variety of different departments and to work closely alongside local doctors and nurses.
Volunteering on a Medical placement in Tanzania
Medicine volunteers 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 volunteers 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 paediatrics. Volunteers can choose whether they want to work in a variety of different departments or whether they want to focus on one in particular.
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 volunteers usually start by observing the doctors and nurses, however 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.
The role of volunteers who already have some medical experience also varies, and it is important to build up trust and a good relationship with the local doctors.
Hospital facilities in Tanzania
Facilities within the hospitals and clinics are basic and treatments are sometimes not of the standard we would expect in the West. 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, however most volunteers work from Monday to Friday and have the weekends free.
Projects Abroad also organises regular medical outreach work and workshops for our medical volunteers in both Dar es Salaam and Arusha. This will give you a greater understanding of the medical system in Tanzania.
Volunteers 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 extremely valuable work in a community based environment.
You will stay with a local Tanzanian host family. They will welcome you into their family. You can spend your free time exploring the area with the Projects Abroad volunteer community.
The Maasai Medical Project
Projects Abroad also works closely with a Maasai community hospital, which is under-resourced and under-staffed. If you have a keen interest or experience in the medical field and would like to work closely with a rural community, this is the perfect option for you. Volunteers 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 the West. 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 programmes 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 volunteers 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. Volunteers 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.
The Maasai Medical placement is available from 4 weeks. You will be living with other volunteers near to the hospital. The accommodation will be basic, but comfortable.
You can join a standard Medical Project in Tanzania for two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. Please be aware that if you join the project for two weeks your role will be observational and will not include hands-on work. Volunteers joining for a month or longer will have more opportunities to build up a good relationship with the doctors and nurses and have the potential to get more involved.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Tanzania Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills. Read more about the opportunities for skilled volunteers in Tanzania.