Category Archives: Tanzania 2014

Ukerewe Island

We sailed for three hours through Lake Victoria, on board a boat with 2 people and .5 chickens per seat, to Ukerewe island. Ukerewe island is a not so small island of 350,000 people in the middle of Lake Victoria where Schistosomiasis, a waterborne pathogen present in Lake Victoria, is endemic. Ukerewe has one hospital, in which the entire small staff of doctors is trained to perform surgeries. From the beach at our hotel every night we saw masses of people bathing and women washing clothes in Lake Victoria, the oasis for Schistosomiasis. For a week our team has worked at the hospital at Ukerewe with Dr.Majula, an expert in neglected tropical diseases. After Dr. Majula made an announcement to the community about our research, people lined up to be scanned, curious to see if years of schistosomiasis exposure had an impact on their organs. Almost everyone tested had either current Schistosomiasis or had the infection at some point in their life, most multiple times. What we saw on ultrasound was surprising, massive distended bowel, not outlined in the WHO procedure that our protocol was modeled after. What also surprised us are things we didn’t detect on ultrasound, significant liver and bladder pathology.  We were also lucky enough to work with the lab at the hospital that provides free Schistosomiasis testing. The lab is modern and open 24hrs a day, unless the water is out, which can shut the lab for several days.  When there was a lull in interested study subjects, we were also lucky enough to shadow in the wards. We observed an unplanned c-section and performed requested ultrasound scans with Dr. Boughton on inpatients.

Our experience at Ukerewe was not only an incredible opportunity for research but also a great chance to see unique pathology, which is usually dispersed among all the hospitals in Mwanza. As excited as we are about a potential use for ultrasound in areas with chronic Schistosomiasis, it is clear that there needs to be environmental changes to reduce the rates and problems caused by Schistosomiasis in the Lake Victoria regions.


Signing out,

Masha, Lauren, Megan, Kevin, Kate and Mikey


Masha Lauren Ukerewe Lab

Masha and Lauren at the Lab

Megan Mikey Dr Majula

Megan and Mikey with Dr. Majula

Asante Sana, Squashed Banana

Hello friends and family!

We are happy to report we have had another stimulating, educational and fun week here in Mwanza, Tanzania. Kate, Kevin, Megan, Mikey, Masha and Lauren the second (!) years feel very grateful for the opportunities we have already had here.

The MS2s are teaching an “Introduction to Ultrasound” course at Tandabui Institute of Health, Education, Science, and Technology. Our students have already been lectured on Knobology, Abdominal and Cardiac Ultrasound. The first quiz was held at the end of this week and we were thrilled with results. Our students are catching on very quickly and ask thoughtful, thorough questions that show their interest in learning. To our surprise Tandabui students are currently on a break from school but many have choose to stay near Mwanza in order to take our course. We are humbled to teach students that our so dedicated to our class and ultrasound.

In the mornings we rotate through several clinics here in Mwanza where we have felt welcomed by all of the medical staff and patients. We are working with an MS3, Kate Hom, at Buzuruga Clinic for women. The MS2s have had the opportunity to ultrasound more pregnant women than we can count with Kate and our translator’s help. We have been able to discover multiple women with babies in breeched position and refer them to a hospital for delivery. Excitingly, several of us have been able to participate in deliveries at the clinic. For some of us it was the first delivery we have ever witnessed and we loved it. We are hoping to see as many deliveries as possible this month.

The MS2s who are not at Buzuraga Clinic can be found at Mwananchi Hospital in the mornings. Everyday at Mwananchi brings interesting new patients and cases. We are able to shadow a local physician, Dr. Keto, on his rounds and assist with ultrasound as he requests. After rounds we shadow other hospital workers including in the laboratory, learning to draw blood. Kevin and Kate were lucky enough to be present on a day when a local ophthalmologist was performing 8 cataract surgeries. It was amazing to see the efficiency and skill of the surgeon using tools no longer used in the US. The cataracts removed were very advanced and it was exciting to think what a quick difference these surgeries would make for the patients.

The “Ultrasound Pathology” class being taught by our wonderful, dedicated MS3s is going very smoothly. Their students from last summer are very excited the MS3s have returned and we are happy to see they are still enthusiastic about learning ultrasound. Their course is being taught at three different locations over three weeks in Mwanza in order to reach the older clinical officer students working in the different hospitals. Their first course at Nyamagana Hospital was a great success. The MS3s were  able to go on rounds with the medical students and physicians at Nyamagana hospital in the morning before class. With the help of Dr. Boughton they were able to demonstrate first hand the utility of bedside ultrasound finding gallstones, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, and ascites just to name a few instances. Today, our MS3s are teaching procedures using gelatin models at the second location, Magu Hospital.

One of their students, Nixon, was so happy to see the MS3s again he invited all of us on the trip into his home in Mwanza. His family was incredibly welcoming and friendly. We were served a delicious avocado and carrot juice, and none of us got sick!

In case you didn’t read this long blog post, hopefully these pictures give you a glimpse of our time so far!

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Our sweet ride for the month in a private Dala-Dala photo (7)

Mikey, Megan and Kevin try the local version of donuts, andazis.

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We took a boat ride on Lake Victoria during sunset to celebrate Brad’s birthday.

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Megan, Mikey and Lauren teaching Introduction to Ultrasound at Tandabui

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Kate Hom taking a selfie

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Kevin, ready to ultrasound outside of Mwananchi Hospital


The ladies and a bored Mikey purchase beautiful, colorful fabrics at the local market.

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Brad, Lauren and Allison dancing with some children. We learned their version of Duck, Duck, Goose called Twiga, Twiga, Simba which translates to Giraffe, Giraffe, Lion.

Welcome to Africa

Well, after 40 hours of travel, we made it to Tanzania–in the city of Mwanza more specifically.  We’ve spent the first couple days adjusting to the new surroundings (and jet lag), learning how to say hello in Swahili, and trying to fully comprehend that 10,000 Shillings  is not as much money as you might expect- $6 USD.

We met with the administrators at Tandabui Medical School (where we’ll be teaching our Introduction to Ultrasound Course), and found out that our schedule is not quite what we imagined it would be!  But, hamna shida, right?  Luckily, it looks better than the one we had originally planned!

Megan and Masha took a ferry ride over to Ukerewe Island (3 hours into Lake Victoria) where we will be doing our research project on Schistosomiosis (schisto for short).  In Masha’s words, beautiful, remote, lush, and friendly.  The administration seems really excited about our project, so we can’t wait to get started.

One of the most impressive things we have found about Mwanza is the night sky, we can see many more stars here than in Orange County. We can even see Mars and Saturn since the sky is not washed out by city lights.

We are off to watch the US-Germany game but we will update you all soon!


-Mikey and Kate


Here are some pictures of our lunch at the market and some of the first years practicing scans for our research project with Dr. Boughton.

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Tanzania 2014 – Meet the Team

Follow our journeys here!

Meet our team:

  • Bradley
  • Megan
  • Maria
  • Kate
  • Kevin
  • Lauren
  • Michael
  • Anjali
  • Gabby
  • Allison