Nursing student seeks medical supply donations for Africa

A young Ponoka girl is seeking support and donations for an assignment in Africa, where she wants to gain experience

Sanam Iqbal Amiri

Sanam Iqbal Amiri

A young Ponoka girl is seeking support and donations for an assignment in Africa, where she wants to gain experience and “learn to appreciate what we have here.”

Born to parents of South Asian origin and raised in Alberta, Sanam Iqbal Amiri is a first year nursing student at Grant MacEwan University in the Psychiatric Nursing program.

As part of an international medical placements program called “Work The World”, Sanam is preparing to depart for Tanzania this summer for a few weeks of work in Dar Es Salaam as an intern.

“This internship involves examining mental health concerns in Tanzania as well as the social stigma associated (with them).” Sanam said in an interview.

This would entail working in outpatient clinics that diagnose and treat schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, drug abuse, anxiety, alcoholism and acute psychosis.

“An opportunity like this would allow me to grow in my profession and in my practice as a registered psychiatric nurse as well as strengthening my appreciation of Western healthcare and nursing,” she said.

The reason for selecting Dar Es Salaam for her internship is that she has relatives in Tanzania and she also would like to know the circumstances shaping the life and practice of medicine in the country where so many of her relatives live.

“This internship will broaden my horizons as I will see the difference between the circumstances here and in a developing country.”

In addition to her internship work, Sanam, being a Moslem, also hopes to be able to volunteer at least some of her time at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar Es Salaam.

One particular feature of this internship is that Sanam is paying to work as an intern and on her trip, she is also hoping to be able to take a lot of medical supplies to the people she will work with and to other medical facilities there.

She gives an example of the surgical gloves, which are so widely available here but in very much short supply in Tanzania.

Since she started her campaign to collect and raise funds for medical supplies, Sanam says she has managed to mobilize some support within the Ponoka community but she thinks she needs more in order to be able meaningfully contribute to addressing at least some of the shortages of medical supplies there.

Alongside working for the hospital she is assigned to through her internship program, Sanam says she also would like to visit orphanages and other similar institutions dealing with social and mental health issues in Dar Es Salaam.

Until July, when she will be taking the trip to Tanzania, Sanam would like to collect as much medical supplies as she can take with her. Anyone willing to contribute to the effort should e mail Sanam at sanam.amiri@gmail.com .