The Looming Public Health Disaster that Isn’t Coronavirus

Public Health Disaster Coronavirus

What would normally be a busy emergency department bursting at the seams with dozens in the waiting room has turned into a deserted post-apocalyptic shell of itself. In the past, you’d hear machines beeping, people moaning either out of pain or psychosis and hospital staff tempers flaring out of frustration. Now that’s given way to … [Read more…]

Will people finally start getting their flu shots?

Flu Shot

If anything good is to come out of the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, I hope that it includes greater investments on preventative health, both from society and individuals. One of my biggest frustrations working in primary care is the persistently low uptake of flu shots. Despite flu shots being free and widely available in pharmacies … [Read more…]

The Coronavirus lockdown has been a disaster for my productivity

As coronavirus cases increased, my personal productivity tanked

I’ve been self-isolated at home for the past two weeks, the result of traveling to Asia and returning to Canada just as all manner of restrictions were kicking in on returning travelers. As recently as the day before my return, the hospital said I could go back to work, but that decision was reversed just … [Read more…]

Day 20: Tanzania’s Only Cancer Treatment Center

Ocean Road Cancer Institute

Tanzania, a country of over 50 million people, has one cancer treatment center, the Ocean Road Cancer Institute, whose main building is a former German colonial hospital built in 1895. In colonial times, the hospital only treated Europeans. After 1961 it was opened to all races and eventually became the nation’s only specialized cancer hospital. The Ocean … [Read more…]

Day 19: The Gay-Tolerant PASADA HIV/AIDS Clinic


Tanzania has some excellent HIV testing and treatment facilities, thanks in part to copious amounts of western aid and oversight. One of the crown jewels of the HIV/AIDS program in Tanzania is the PASADA HIV/AIDS Clinic in Dar Es Salaam – PASADA is an acronym for: Pastoral Activities and Services for people with AIDS Dar … [Read more…]

Day 18: The Most Unusual Surgery

ENT Surgery Theater, Muhimbili National Hospital

Today we saw a surgery that we’ll likely never see again. A young man in his early 20’s walked in to the ENT operating theater at Muhimbili National Hospital with a large tumor on his forehead that enveloped his left eye. If you look closely at the X-ray in the top left corner, the extent … [Read more…]

Day 17: The Death of a Patient

Death of a Patient

Since coming to Tanzania I’ve written a lot about death – there’s plenty of it in this country, as there is everywhere else, but for reasons I’m not used to. People are seemingly dying needlessly. But maybe it’s my perception that’s the problem. Yesterday I wrote about a young man around my age at the TMJ … [Read more…]

Day 16: TMJ Private Hospital

An MRI showing ring-enhanced lesions, TMJ Hospital

After three weeks rotating through government hospitals in Dar Es Salaam, we got to work with a distinguished physician at the TMJ Hospital today. I say distinguished because Dr. Kapiteni, the head doctor at TMJ Hospital, is apparently quite well known in Dar – our taxi driver knew his working hours off the top of … [Read more…]

Day 15: Mother Teresa’s Orphanage in Dar Es Salaam

Mother Teresa Orphanage, Dar Es Salaam

My biggest fear when we visited the Mother Teresa Orphanage in Dar Es Salaam was that the kids would get attached to us and it would be hard to leave. Well, it was difficult to leave because I was starting to feel attached. The kids at the orphanage seemed accustomed to people coming and going … [Read more…]

Day 14: Appendicitis or Ovarian Cyst?

Dr. Eric makes an incision

Many surgeries in Tanzania are performed with no CT scans or MRIs done beforehand. A surgeon could open someone’s abdomen only to find a completely different problem than what was originally suspected. That’s why imaging technology is so helpful. Amana Hospital has no CT scanners or MRI machines. Today, Dane and I went to the surgery clinic … [Read more…]