Co-authored by Shawna O’Hearn, Director, Global Health Office and Dr. John LeBlanc, Faculty Advisor, Global Health Office
Today is our 8 hour road trip to Ifakara. Using rope made from old rubber tires, our minivan driver, Majuto, packed 10 pieces of luggage in the back, on the roof and under our feet :(. We were squished and traffic was intense. We started on the main road out of Dar that takes one west to a T-junction. To the north, the road proceeds to Moshi, Arusha and eventually, Kenya (have a look on Google Maps). To the south, one proceeds through the Mikumi National Park to our destination Ifakara and then south to Mozambique. We had to work our way through big truck convoys against oncoming traffic and vehicles trying to pass these truck. This is, after all, one of the main arteries to southern Africa. We drove through the Mikumi National Park; to the right and left of the highway we saw, in sequence, a wild turkey, a baboon, gazelles, elephants zebras, giraffes, buffalo and a herd of goats! They were within a hundred metres of the road. No predators except people with the most dangerous of weapons, the automobile.
The final 85km of a 420km journey was mostly a bumpy, dirt, narrow road. Cheers could be heard as we saw the sign for the Tanzania Training Centre for International Health (TTCIH) and 6 miles through town, we reached our destination. We had a warm welcome and were treated to a BBQ of chicken and beef.
1 October 2012
We awoke in Paradise!
I was expecting a clean but functional, even austere setting with few amenities. We were treated to a lovely institute with beautiful flora, clean white buildings surrounded by lush lawns and a small cafeteria. We each have a large room with a double bed, a mosquito net, air conditioning, a fridge, a kettle and a television! Pickings are a little slim for those of us who don’t speak Swahili. The people are lovely and since Dalhousie has partnered with the Ifakara Institute for 10 years, the staff were eager to see us and hear updates on their friends. We started the day with a tour of the facilities by Dr. Senga Pemba (Director of the Training Institute). There is a new clinical training centre which had models for demonstrating birth and newborn resuscitation as well as plastic models demonstrating human anatomy.
There are 4 Institutions here:
- Tanzania Training Centre for International Health (TTCIH)
- Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
- St. Francis Referral Hospital
- St. Francis University College for Health & Allied Sciences (SFUCHAS)