The next day, we drove to the university to meet with Professor Muhairwa, the veterinary assistant Anthony Andrew Mhando, Nickson Ng’umbi, a senior Tanzanian veterinary student, and the “Fins” (2 veterinary students from Finland).
We got a tour of the clinic and veterinary school. The school has open corridor classrooms and beautiful flowers lining the buildings. After getting a tour of the clinic, we learned that the clinic sees about 25 cases on Saturday with varying numbers during the weekday and only one clinician working at a time. The large animal surgeries are usually done in the field. The surgeons don’t scrub, rather they just wash their hands plainly with soap and water. As we toured the facilities, there was evidence of some type of clinical evaluation similar to the OSCE. Even in Africa, we can’t escape the OSCE!!!
After the tour, we headed to our first village, Mlali. Castrations and Spays are not usually performed. Most of the villagers are not even aware there are any procedures to control overpopulation of their animals. The owner of our first patient was a teacher in the town. The dog was anesthetized with a mixture of ketamine and xylazine. We used this drug combination for all of our surgeries. Dr. Bennett made history that day. He was the first person to ever spay an animal in this village. It was obvious by the large number of children and adults crowding to see what was happening. Desiree Parks and Natalie Windell assisted.
In the next village, we also performed a spay and vaccinated several dogs. Similar to the previous village, we had a giant group of children crowding the surgical area to get a glipse into the body cavity.
As we traveled to the last village, Nickson and Professor Muhairwa told us about some of the healthcare problems in Tanzania. Apparently, there are vitamin A deficiencies in children and animals especially during the dry season. To prevent eye and skin problems, villagers will travel to get vitamin A drops. There are also problems with infant mortality and women dying during childbirth. The professor said that 70 out of 1000 babies die before the age of 5 due to infectious reasons. Most of the maternal deaths are due to the young age of the mother. Many women have children at fourteen years of age. Contraception is not typically used because of religious reasons. Most of the people who live in Tanzania are Catholic and Muslim.