Karatu: Untold story of foreign medics

Wednesday May 10 2017


By Syriacus Buguzi @buguzi sbuguzi@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. Last weekend, as news of the Arusha bus tragedy involving school children began to spread on social media, most people’s focus was on the children, teachers and a driver who lost their lives—at that moment, it was all shock and grief—and it did not matter to know who first rushed to the accident scene to rescue the victims who were trapped in the bus wreckage.

Pictures were seen trending on the internet showing foreigners wearing protective gear teaming up with local residents at the accident scene during a rescue process at Rotia Village, along the Arusha-Manyara road where the 35 people died in the accident.

Arusha being a tourist city, it just remained guesswork that the foreigners were perhaps tourists who were touched by the tragic nature of the school bus accident and had rushed in to help. But that remains the partial truth.

The foreigners were actually medical volunteers from the United States; who coincidentally arrived at the scene just minutes after the accident occurred. They were travelling to Ngorongoro District from Pohama village in Singida Region where they had gone to witness the construction of a mission hospital, according to Singida North MP Lazaro Nyalandu.

With the assistance of the locals, the medics managed to rescue three children who until today are admitted at Mount Meru Regional Hospital, according to the Arusha Regional Medical Officer, Dr Wonanji Timothy.

He said the medical volunteers from a charity organisation Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) have been trying to intervene in helping the rescued children until yesterday.


He told The Citizen that the doctors were now making final arrangements to transfer the children to specialised hospitals in US for further medical management.

“What we are doing now is to ensure that the injured children are kept in a clinically stable state and that all the necessary tests including CT-scans and MRIs are done before we embark on a process to send them abroad. We will complete this soon,’’ said the RMO.