Tanzania Trip 2013
NCNM will be offering a global health research experience in Tanzania. Projects planned for the summer of 2013 are:
Herbal Medicine and Ethnobotany: Tanzania is one of the most ethno-botanically diverse countries on the planet. With more than 10,000 species of plants, the soils of Tanzania grow many herbal medicines. Researchers at Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam screen the herbs of Tanzania for activity against cancer, HIV, and malaria among other diseases. Students will visit the Institute for Traditional Medicine at Muhimbili University and participate in an herbal medicine research workshop with researchers there. If time allows, students will also have the opportunity to visit with a traditional healer in Tanga to learn how the herbs are used in the villages.
Breast-feeding and Childhood Stunting: Childhood stunting, a condition where full-growth potential is not reached, is a major health concern in developing countries. Stunting is related to increased rates of morbidity and mortality, most notably from common and often preventable and treatable infectious diseases and environmental problems (Semba et al., 2008). In Tanzania, childhood stunting is higher than in most other countries, with more than one third of all children below average in height and weight; children often weigh the same at 2 years of age as they weighed at 6 months (http://allafrica.com/stories/201205200076.html).
The reasons for stunting in Tanzania are complex. While a formal breast-feeding survey has not been conducted, one apparent cause is reduced time breast-feeding. In a focus group conducted in 2008, it was discovered that instead of breast-feeding, children are fed “uji,” a form of cornmeal similar to grits. The nutrient value of uji is minimal, and doesn’t support adequate growth. NCNM students will participate with researchers to learn how a breast-feeding study will be conducted in Tanzania.
Additional Activities: Students learn about global health by simply spending time in a developing country. There are many opportunities to discuss health and health politics during the trip. Challenges to conducting research in Tanzania become apparent after learning about the local culture. A unique opportunity may exist to work with a homeopath who is treating HIV patients. Students will also be able to practice physical medicine on each other. As much as possible, the trip will be tailored to students’ specific interests.
By traveling in developing countries, most people learn more about themselves than anything else. Traveling in Africa isn’t easy. If you are considering the Tanzania Experience, you must be aware that there will be things that shock, irritate, frustrate, and sadden you. This is an opportunity for you to cultivate who you are as a person and how you relate to the world.
Tanzania Trip Curriculum:
Dates for 2013
Airfare: $2250 – by far the largest expense. Some students have found cheaper flights ($1700) through Turkish Airlines.
Hotel and Rooms: $400 – this number could decrease (and could decrease significantly) if you plan to share accommodations.
Food: $250 – plan for roughly $10/day for food.
In country travel: $200 – this will cover the cost of Jeeps and travel to Zanzibar. The larger the group, the smaller this number will be.
Total costs: Approximately $3,200.
In addition, you will want to have money for gifts, safaris, and to buy a phone or pay for internet access. Estimate $100-200 for a safari with the group. If you plan to do a safari on your own, plan on $500 or more.
Malaria is very prevalent in the areas in which we’ll be traveling. There is no vaccine for Malaria. If you go to a travel clinic, you will be prescribed an anti-malarial drug like malarone. Doxycycline is slightly less effective than malarone, but less toxic and less expensive.
Climbing Kilimanjaro: Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technically difficult mountain to climb, though it is strenuous. If you plan to climb Kili, you are required to go with a guide or group. It typically takes around 7 days to go up the mountain, and a little less to come down. Costs vary with the size of the group that goes. You can rent equipment in Moshi so that you don’t have to carry it with you. Do your research before you go so you are prepared financially and physically.
Zanzibar: We’ll plan on spending a few days on the island of Zanzibar during the class. However, we will only scratch the surface of the riches of Zanzibar. People come from all over the world to snorkel and scuba dive in the pristine waters there. The beaches are stellar, and a great place to relax after grueling year of medical school, or to read and prepare for board exams.
Safaris: We will do one short safari as a group. However, Tanzania is known for its safaris. Serengetti, Ruaha, and Selous are some of the largest and most beautiful game parks in the world. Safaris can be expensive if you stay in the parks. You can save money by joining a group that needs one more in its jeep. You don’t need to plan a safari in advance – you can do it there. You do need to plan for the time (3-9 days), and the expense.
Volunteering: There are hundreds of NGOs doing work in Tanzania, and many students want to volunteer with them after their courses. Unless you get a volunteer visa instead of a tourist visa, you will not be welcomed by the groups. They are rigorous in making certain
that their volunteers have permission to do so, as they do not want to be fined by the government. If this is something you are considering, you will need to apply for volunteer visa at least three months before heading to Tanzania.