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The island doctor: A role model for health care workers

A dozen people are gathered around a water hand-pump

Country: Tanzania © Esther Mbabazi, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Dr. Ng’wasi Simiyu is the head of the maternity ward at Nansio hospital on Ukerewe Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from the Tanzanian shore of Lake Victoria. She spends her days caring for pregnant women and delivering babies—including complicated and emergency cases. She also mentors and coaches fellow doctors and nurses at her remote government hospital. These are skills and knowledge she gained from training and mentorship supported by Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Improving Access to Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Health in Mwanza, Tanzania (IMPACT) project.

As Dr. Simiyu explains, it is still not common for women to become doctors in her community. “The challenge of being a female doctor is that many of the patients come and instead of calling you doctor, they call you ’nurse’. They think all doctors are male.” Now, Dr. Simiyu is driving positive change in her community and is a role model for fellow health-care workers. She is just one of more than 400 health workers who have benefited from training and mentoring under the IMPACT Project.

In partnership with the Government of Tanzania and local communities, IMPACT is contributing to a stronger, more responsive health system for more than 600,000 women and infants in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Project profile — Improving Access to Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health in Mwanza, Tanzania – IMPACT

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