From a life on the street to a nurse anaesthetist

He lived on the street, but never gave up his dream. Today Michael Christian is a nurse anaesthetist at Bagamoyo District Hospital, and is dedicated to save lives. For his heart touching words of a mother that he will never forget, he won the essay competition at the latest course in Obstetric Anaesthesia, held by MKAIC and Life Support Foundation in Tanzania.IMG_0921_2

Michael Christians eyes glitters when he receives his diploma and 50 dollars reward, as the winner of the essay competition. He is one of around 50 attendants who have shared their thoughts on everyday life and its hardships, within their profession. This was one of the tasks at the course in Obstetric Anaesthesia, at Muhimbili National Hospital on the 9 to 11 November in Dar es Salaam.

– I didn´t expect to win at all, and it feels great. I come from far away, and I had to use all my money to get here, since my hospital wasn´t able to cover the costs. I knew it was very important for me to join the course, so I worked hard for it.

He is accustomed to struggle since childhood, and being able to study was far from obvious. When he was seven years old his parents died, and since no one could provide for him, he was taken to an orphanage where he spent the rest of his childhood.IMG_0869

– When I turned 19 it was time to leave the orphanage. There was no other option than a life on the street, he says.

However Michael was a bright young man, and he knew that he had the potential to do something out of his life. Instead of falling in to criminality, he managed to get back to school, studying to be a nurse.

Later on Michael started working in the maternity ward, at Bagamoyo District Hospital. Since there was only one anaesthetist, Michael was soon chosen to go for further studies at the Muhimbili Hospital.

– I was so happy to have that chance, but when I was offered to remain at Muhimbili, I said no. I knew I was needed back at Bagamoyo. I have been given a gift, and I need to use it the best way that I can. I know where I come from and how hard life can be. Now I want to there for the mothers and babies that need me the most, explains Michael. IMG_0598

The biggest challenges he faces in his work as a nurse anesthetist, is lack of equipment, transportation and blood. In his winning essay Michael tells of a mother that wasn’t only a patient of his, about to give birth, but also a doctor, and one of his dear colleagues. Now she was bleeding severely.

– I knew that we needed to act at once to save her life, and I tried in every way but there was no blood. When I finally managed to get to Muhimbili with her, they told me it was too late. It was just about minutes.  I asked them to keep trying, but finally I had to accept that I had lost her.

With his diploma and 50 dollars in hand, Michael is now returning to Bagamoyo District Hospital to practice what he has learned. Although he is saddened by the patients that were lost, he seems confident and encouraged by the course that he has gone through.

IMG_0402– The most important thing that I have learned is that the ABCDE is the basic in saving acutely ill patients. I do what I can to save lives. Improving my knowledge will push me to do even better, and to share what I have learned back home.