Sunday, July 14, 2024

Mullingar medic to return to Tanzania this week

By Michelle Crawley

MULLINGAR doctor, Michael O’Donovan, will be Tanzania bound this forthcoming Friday, 15 August, on what will be his fifth trip to the country in one calendar year on a health volunteering project with international development organisation, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Ireland.
Michael, who has worked as a consultant in general medicine and gastroenterology in Mullingar Regional Hospital since 1987, first travelled to St. Francis’ Hospital in Ifakara, located in the southern part of Tanzania, last August for a short-term placement (a number of weeks) where he provided his professional services for free, assisting the staff of the hospital and training medical students and newly qualified doctors to develop their clinical skills on the ward. Since then, the consultant physician who lives at Lynn, Mullingar, has returned three more times on short-term placements to assist the staff with upgrading services.
Speaking of his experience in Tanzania, Michael says the hardest part about going out to Africa is the actual travelling, with long indirect flights, stop-overs, and a 9 hour journey by road from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, to the southern part of the country where the hospital is located. Naturally, having been accustomed to top quality resources and aids working in Mullingar Regional Hospital, working in a hospital that is resource-poor, like many in African countries, was a big change. “It’s been a real experience stepping aside from the usual environment of conducting lots of investigations, having access to lots of medication and facilities to treat patients. On a personal level, trying to share skills effectively in a poor rural hospital with aspirations to serve an enormous population has been a real experience.”

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