“Without your support my studies would have been impossible”

Through her new skills Eva Shanga managed to save the life of an acutely ill 16 years old boy – a day that she will never forget. She is able to study to become a specialist in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care through sponsorship from Life Support Foundation and EDUF. Her expertise is much needed in Tanzania where trauma kills more people than malaria, HIV and TB together. The injuries often require surgery and critical care.

Eva Shanga Being a young mother with limited resources is a challenge for any woman, but for doctor Eva Shanga in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, who is studying to become a specialist doctor at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, it is even bigger. She is much needed in a country where there are only 20 Anaesthetists for a population of 47 million.

– The sponsorship from Life Support Foundation and EDUF has meant that I can concentrate on my studies rather than worrying about how I will be able to pay for food, travel, school fees, bills and other costs for my family such as childcare when I am working late. Without your support, my studies would have been impossible, says Eva.

She is now in the third semester of her training and has been learning about anaesthesia in the specialties of Paediatric Surgery, Ear, Nose & Throat, Ophthalmology, Dental, Maxillofacial, Burns and Urology.

– Mostly I have been in the operating theatres, taking care of patients and learning from my tutors.  I have also started to prepare my dissertation proposal and am working towards the University exams. It is really important for me that I pass my exams and complete my training.

Eva tells the story of a patient that she will never forget, and how her new skills meant the difference between life and death. That day she was on call at the Emergency Theatre, and at the same time she was required to cover the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

– I was called to the ICU and when I went there I found a 16 years old boy who had been admitted with breathing difficulties. His heart rate was too fast, his blood pressure was too high and he had oxygen saturation levels of only 50 percent which is dangerously low.  He needed help to breathe, explains Eva.Eva Shanga 2

The nurses on call were not familiar with intubation so they could not give Eva the assistance she required, but she tried anyway and at the first attempt  passed the tube into the oesophagus, which is the wrong place. The boy vomited and Eva’s assistant ran away from the vomitus!

After clearing the airway with suction, Eva managed to intubate him on her second attempt. She gave him oxygen and helped his breathing and after 45 minutes he was more stable. She kept treating him and he became fully conscious.

– The next morning the boy was off the ventilator. I was so happy that I had managed to save his life that day, says Eva.

In her third year Eva will learn about anaesthesia in emergencies, intensive care and cardiac anaesthesia. It will be the time for data collection and analysis of her research dissertation. Her final exam will be in August 2017.

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