Dr. Kent Petrie
holds a healthy
The team from
4 weeks of
to the hospital
attend a patient
“I’m not sure one could ever accomplish every-
thing they wanted in Haydom,” Paulus says.
One accomplishment Paulus, Bischoff and the Con-
nealys achieved while in Tanzania was to make the
acquaintance of a young local girl and sponsor her so she
could attend school. The Brandeses plan to return to the
country in 2016 — if not sooner — to attend their nursing
friend Veronica’s graduation with a degree in midwifery.
Possibly the most rewarding aspect of the trip was the
continuous flow of appreciation from the patients and
staff at Haydom. The display of gratitude came after each
successful delivery, educational presentation, equip-
ment contribution or simply from a helping hand.
“The rewards are continuously present — a smile from a
patient or family, a curtsy from an infant’s mother, chil-
dren running up to us to hold our hands. The people there
value western healthcare and treat us with great respect.
The hospitality is like no other place I've ever been. The
people are extremely kind and welcoming,” Brandes says.
Besides the heart-swelling sense of reward from
such focused work in a community like Haydom,
Dr. Petrie points out that such experiences lend
an incredible perspective upon returning to first
world medical care and general way of life.
“I appreciate our system of medical care when I
come back from these trips,” Petrie says. “You see
how the situation is in Tanzania and think, ‘How
much do we really have to complain about?’”
The focus of this last trip was primarily Haydom’s hospital
and its new maternity ward, where Dr. Petrie assisted with
several deliveries, coaching nursing and medical staff and
walking them through management of challenges such
as post partum hemorrhage and newborn resuscitation.
Nestled in a village of closely packed shanties with
holes for windows, the Haydom hospital and its 400 beds
is by far the most developed building in the area, but by
American standards the facility is extremely basic.
The maternity ward undertakes more than 5,000 de-
liveries annually. This number is particularly striking
because, as Brandes points out, in Tanzania, most births
still happen at home. In spite of its relative sophistica-
tion, the hospital reflects the ghastly health concerns
rampant in this poverty-stricken country, a far cry from
the scene of controlled illness and healing one is likely
to witness at VVMC or any first world medical facility.
“The patients there are very ill and death is ever present.
Infants and children die daily from things you would never
see in this country,” Brandes says. “Oftentimes the women
who come for delivery are already in trouble. They have
labored at another even-more-remote facility and were then
brought to Haydom. The same for infants. Some are brought
in after a home delivery that didn't go well or they were
born at a health dispensary far away and an ambulance
— a Land Cruiser with a mattress in the back — brought
them to the hospital. Premature births are common due to
chronic malaria, poor nutrition, limited prenatal care and
all the other problems of poverty. Premature babies don't do
well in Africa. There simply are not the medical resources,
equipment or staff available to support their needs.”
Given this reality, even after four weeks of non-
stop work, the VVMC crew was still left with
a biting sense of unfinished business.
“Premature babies don't do well
in Africa. There simply are not the
medical resources, equipment or staff
available to support their needs.”