The flying doctor
Mark Lister spent his elective with a flying medical team in Tanzania and tells us what it was like
- By: Mark Lister
You need a strong stomach to work with the flying doctors. Firstly, five flights in a light plane each day churn up your insides; secondly, what you see when you land can be a bigger shock to the system.
Tanzania is east Africa's largest country and one of the world's poorest. Its area of 943 000 km2 is home to over 100 tribes each speaking their own language, the largest wildlife herds in Africa, and a medical team of eight people who are the flying medical service.
Most (90%) of Tanzania's population is sparsely distributed across the sub-Saharan mainland, with the remainder living in urbanised settlements in the developing towns. Consequently, most people have no access to modern medicine, hindered by huge distances, hostile geography, and no idea of what is available. The flying medical service has an unrivalled role in taking medical services to the people.
I saw medicine