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Visiting Machame Village Primary School

Tuesday, 02 December, 2014
Visiting Machame Village Primary School
An early start to meet with the hospital directors before leaving for Machame Village Primary School as part of the Burns Awareness Project. After an hour long drive we arrived at the school, located up a steep slope and across open fields, to be greeted by the teachers. In a rural Tanzanian home most cooking is done over open wood fires – a major hazard for all children who play in this area. Mothers with untreated epilepsy are also known to fall into the fires, often with their babies still strapped to their backs. Through playacting by strapping a doll to the back we taught the children how to avoid such injuries by always ensuring the child is cared for by someone while the mother is cooking. The children were really engaged- rushing forward with water bottles and bandaging the pretend injuries. They could list all of the main fire hazards in the home before we left and understood what to do if a burn injury happened and when they should go to hospital. Two of the team’s nurses, Peter and Tony were rewarded by joining  the children for a game of  football after the lesson. We called into Machame Hospital where we had a tour of the facilities and met a four year old girl with severe burns to her arm which had been caused by hot tea. Thinking she could be a possible patient for plastic surgeon Jeremy when he arrived from Australia at the weekend, we requested a transfer to KCMC so that she had a better chance for treatment. 
Following this we went to the school of nursing where team members could share their skills with nurse students. Vaseline and honey are needed to make special burns dressings and we find that whilst Vaseline is readily available, the honey would be supplied by patients from their local village hives. Our finance manager, Jo and I then met the finance team to develop a new project. It’s difficult to imagine coming from a fully resourced NHS how KCMC can deliver a healthcare service when government funding is so limited and people cannot afford to pay for their treatment. Yet they find a way to do it.