Campaign finished. Thank you everybody. Our campaign is now over.
Help me make a difference at Mt. Meru Hospital
$1,545 Raised
77% of $2k goal
22 contributors
0 days left
Ended Aug 10, 2014
HI GUYS, and thank you to all of you who have kept up with me as I learn, live, and grow through my experience in Arusha, Tanzania. As most of you know I have been keeping a blog of my time here in and out of the hospital I volunteer at. I ... More ...

HI GUYS, and thank you to all of you who have kept up with me as I learn, live, and grow through my experience in Arusha, Tanzania. As most of you know I have been keeping a blog of my time here in and out of the hospital I volunteer at. I want to share with you all a little bit about the hospital I volunteer at through facts and stories. 

I volunteer at Mt. Meru Regional Hospital. 

The entrance of Mt Meru

The history of Mt. Meru Hospital dates back to 1926. It was originally built to serve those that suffered casualties in the First World War. Over the years it gradually evolved into a 500 bed hospital. The hospital includes SERVERAL clinical departments: internal med, surgical (Theater), Obs and Gyn, pediatrics, radiology, infectious disease, phlebotomy, testing lab, mental health, physiotherapy, anesthesia, dentistry and ophthalmology. It severs 18 smaller district hospitals scattered around the region. 

The below statistics were recorded in 2002:

Out-patients (2002):
New cases:   Males 7021,         Females 8681,       Total 15,702

Return cases: Males 4634,         Females 6306        Total  10,940 (2/3 of patients return)

In-patients (2002):
Males 7686,           Females 19,413,              Total  27100

Average daily admissions: Males 21,              Females  53.2                  Total   74.2

Average length of stay (days):
Males 5.5,             Females 3.7,                    Total   4.1

Average Daily in-patient census: Males 121.6,          Females 182.5,                Total 304.1

Deaths: Males 654,             Females  561                   Total  1215

Deliveries: Total number of all deliveries:         9,545.   1270 of these were Caesarean sections.


Upon my experience and Dr. Malay’s (Regional Supervisor of Mt. Meru) knowledge, these numbers have increased since 2002. More importantly, please note that charts are NOT well organized in the hospital. Patient charts do not have bed numbers, patient papers are often lost, and some patients are not recorded in the admission book. The above statistics should only be used to give you an idea of how many patients are served at the hospital.

The government funds the hospital. Upon visiting the East African Community (EAC) center, we found that in terms of annual GDP the Tanzania government ranks fourth of five countries in the EAC. That being said, it can be assumed that the government does not have loads of money to fund Mt. Meru. Other sources of financing include a cost sharing scheme, the National Health Insurance Fund, and a scheme known as the Basket Fund. The latter is a 35% allocation from the Municipal Council since this hospital also serves as the Council Hospital for this Municipality. The central government pays for all staff employment. The Abbott Fund based out of the United States, began a project in 2011 to help Tanzania “strengthen the country's health care system and address critical areas of need.” Please read more about what Abbott Fund does for Tanzania here à Although Mt. Meru is getting help it is nowhere near where it should be in terms of supplies.

Lastly, I’d like to speak from my heart. I came here to Arusha to gain experience in a hospital setting. I put on my scrubs, laced my shoes, and shuffled into the hospital day one completely blind to what my days volunteering would do to me emotionally. I have seen things in the hospital that often have me wondering, “what if this happened in my country?” I am lucky because in two weeks I will pack my bags and live life in a country where educated doctors, in aseptic facilities, handle sickness with ease.

One day as I was walking home with some other volunteers after coming into contact with a Cryptococcus meningitis patient; I turned to my friends and expressed my fear for getting sick during my time here. Are you scared to get streptococcus (strep throat) in the United States? No. Certainly you’re confident you’ll get the antibiotics you need before you develop the sequel disease of Rheumatic fever (streptococcus in the heart), which causes permanent heart damage. I have seen heart failure in two patients due to Rheumatic fever.

The poor care here boils down to two things: under educated and underpaid staff, and lack of resources. We can make a difference in one of the two parameters here. I have seen a woman covered head to thigh with a blistering rash (Stevens-Johnson disease) suffering without pain medication. I often spend nights in casualty (ER medicine) and here I see the largest lack of resources of the entire hospital.

Aseptic Cleaning Station in Mt. Meru ER

All Medical Injections Available in ER Mt. Meru: Includes any pain, sedative, antibiotic. What you see is what they have.

Syringes, Canulas, and IV solution Available in the ER at Mt. Meru

I have seen patients get sutured without local anesthetic. I have been scolded for using too much plaster (medical tape). Each ward shares ONE blood pressure cuff. The volunteers and I bring our own examination gloves, face masks, and hair covers because there aren’t enough to go around. The labor ward lacks resources too. Upon scrubbing in for a cesarean section, the surgical unit ran out of hair covers and we were told to wrap a torn cloth around our heads.

Cloth Hair Covers before Surgery

Babies are forced to lay in soiled kangas (baby wraps) in the neonatal unit because there are too few to go around. Woman suffering perineal tears during labor are sutured after birth without Lidocaine. I could share more events in which proper resources could resolve an issue, but I have hope that I’ve painted a general picture proving Mt. Meru is in need.

I did not create this website to ask for LOADS of money from each person… because it doesn’t take that much. Below I have typed a reference showing how much the most general things cost at a local pharmacy in Arusha.


33 Ampicclin Injection (antibiotic):                         25,000 Tanzanian Shilling – 15.01 U.S.$

1 Piece B/P Machine:                                                 75,000 Tanzanian Shilling – 45.22 U.S. $

50 Diazapam Injection (sedative):                         37,500 Tanzanian Shilling – 22.61 U.S. $

50 Tramadol Injection (pain):                         37,500 Tanzanian Shilling – 22.61 U.S. $

1 box (50 pair) Examination Gloves:                         7,500 Tanzanian Shilling – 4.52 U.S. $

1 Kanga Cloth:                                                 7,500 Tanzanian Shilling – 4.52 U.S. $

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