Weill Bugando Medical Centre, a Tanzanian-government affiliated referral and teaching hospital located in Mwanza, Tanzania, provides a truly immersive global health experience to the Cornell student interested in medical care and health services in a resource-limited, Sub-Saharan setting. Students are mentored and guided in their experiences by resident Weill Cornell physicians who treat patients, help aid the continued improvement of medical education in the region, and conduct research in clinical- and field-based settings. Selected students have ample opportunities to interact both with Tanzanian physicians and medical students, as well as local townspeople and villagers in their explorations of the city of Mwanza. The Bugando Medical Centre experience is ideal for those looking for a great deal of broad first-hand exposure to morbidity and mortality in a resource-poor, Sub-Saharan setting, with disease profiles in the region drastically different from what they are likely used to in the US. During their eight-week stay, students stay in either close-by hospital guest housing or medical resident dormitory and spend the majority of their day rotating through the departments of hospital, going on rounds with residents and physicians and attending resident-led morning reports and case studies. An individual project to work on, ranging from aiding physicians in hospital based studies of disease to accompanying and assisting in research in local villages provides added dimension to the experience, helping students to gain a measure of independence in working in a resource limited setting. The program leaves ample room for the student of global health to pursue their own interests in the field within the lens of Mwanza, but with significant oversight and guidance from faculty and mentors in the field to ensure a high standard of education and involvement academically, culturally and medically. Returning from their eight-week stay, students will have gained significant appreciation for the challenges and rewards that medical care providers and policy makers face in resource-poor settings, form relationships with passionate minds in global health from around the world, and have a solid foundation upon which to build their education and future contribution to the field.
How much does the trip cost?
Airfare is the main cost of the flight and depending upon which service or airline you book through will likely run between $1700 and $2200 on average from NYC to Mwanza. Housing costs at the Serengeti Guest House, which includes lunches and dinners, laundry and maintenance is $25 a day, working out to about $1200 over two months. Remaining costs include transportation around the city (usually taxi) and other personal expenses. The total works out to between $4000 and $4500 for the eight weeks spent abroad.
Where would I be living?
Space allowing, the usual choice of housing for students and faculty visiting Bugando is the Serengetti guest house, located about a 5 minute walk down the road from the entrance to the hospital and a 10-15 minute walk up Bugando hill from downtown Mwanza. Lunch and dinner is provided and cooked on premises and laundry washing is provided as well. Rooms are comfortable with well maintained mosquito netting and the living accommodations provide an opportunity to interact with the "house moms" and converse with Tanzanians on local issues and culture.
What would I do during my free time?
There are an enormous amount of culturally and environmentally immersive places to visit in Mwanza, including conversing with local Tanzanians in the market, visiting an orphanage, hiking around and exploring beautiful Lake Victoria, going on a trip to the villages with a researcher, having dinner with the Tanzanian residents in town, meeting other expatriates interested in and studying global health from all over the world, playing a game of pick-up soccer and especially taking a weekend safari into the nearby Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks!