Maria Milland

When did you stay at Masanga?
February 2012
February 2013
February 2014

What was your motivation for going to Masanga? 
The projects focus on local capacity building appeals to me. Especially task shifting to middle level staff in a country where medical doctors are few seem reasonable in order to make more efficient use of human resources. I have for many years wanted to work in a developing world context and contribute with my knowledge and skills.

What was your first meeting with Masanga like?
I was faced with very ill patients where diagnostic means were limited. At the same time I witnessed highly dedicated local staff. They aimed to do their best in diagnosing, treating and caring for the patients. The local staff, especially the STP students, were eager and highly motivated to learn more.

What was your main duties while at the hospital?
Most mornings I supervised the STP students on ward rounds in the Maternity ward. In the afternoons I was teaching Obstetric theory, with an emphasis on the most common obstetric complications. In order to make the training applicable time was allocated for simulated-based skills training.

What have you learned from this experience?
To train the STP student was highly rewarding. The students were motivated, diligent, intelligent and extremely eager to learn. If a chance was there to learn more they were in place. Several evenings the whole group stayed till late in the night if interesting patients appeared. And more importantly they put into action what they learned during classes. They took responsibility and felt very proud when they had learned something new. I can say that my experience in Sierra Leone is one of the most meaningful in my life.

What is your advice to others that are thinking about going to Sierra Leone and Masanga?
Be prepared to be unprepared…..even if you think you are prepared. Things work out differently than in Europe and in its own pace. Come with an open mind and give yourself some time to adjust to local circumstances.