TRIA physician assistant Hannah Prissel recently went on a mission trip to Tanzania. Her dad, an ophthalmologist, her mom, a retired physical therapist and her husband who is also a physical therapist, joined her for the trip to set up an eye clinic.
Hannah and her family brought eight suitcases filled with donated medical supplies – about 400 pounds worth! This does not include the crates filled with ophthalmology and orthopedic equipment previously sent.
The first few days were busy with unloading crates and putting together eye equipment. The following three days the team saw patients. Despite an inconsistent supply of interpreters and nurses to train, they were able to help about 90 patients. Unfortunately they had to turn some people away due to their limited time at the clinic.
When Hannah was not working as a tech in the eye clinic, she was able to work with other medical staff in the hospital. She gave a lecture on hand and elbow conditions, conducted a splinting and casting training and even helped with a surgery.
Hannah shared a story about how the donated supplies were most helpful. A nine year old girl who suffered serious burns from a cooking fire was at the hospital. She needed new dressing changes for the wounds on her legs and lower torso. These dressings allowed her to be more active in physical therapy with much less pain!
The hospital staff enjoyed having Hannah and her family there. Patients were also appreciative of the donated supplies. Even the seemingly small things- such as a portable pulse oximeter were treasured.
After a busy week of helping out at the clinic, Hannah and her family went on a two day safari trip. They were able to see all sorts of animals like elephants, cheetahs and a leopard! Hannah said it was, “quite the experience.”