Student Grant Initiative: My experience in Tanzania – article by Ryan Latto

Thank you to all our graduates who continue to fund the Student Grant Initiative (SGI) – your generosity now allows us to award over £30,000 a year to innovative student projects. The Initiative showcases the talent and ambition of Edinburgh Napier Students as well as having a positive impact on local and international communities.  Please click here if you would like to make a donation.

 Ryan Latto, BN Nursing, recently returned from Moshi in Tanzania where he completed a four week placement with First Aid Africa thanks to support from the SGI:

SGI - Ryan Latto

 “The moment I heard about First Aid Africa I knew I had to take part. This Edinburgh based charity gave me the opportunity to travel to Moshi in Tanzania, at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, to teach essential first aid skills. We first arrived at our placement after a few days on intense induction and we were excited to see how the next four weeks would pan out.

Our placement was a large secondary school housing 3,000 students eager to learn and head off to university. Developing our teaching strategy was the first challenge, having to teach in classes of 40 to 120 students of all ages. Immediately we found the teaching space limiting. However, many of the students were receptive to our classes, approaching the practical demonstrations with a lot of enthusiasm, creativity and humour despite the limited space. More importantly the students asked questions about why we treat injuries in certain ways and we talked a lot about the difference between what we taught and how they approached injury in their own culture.

We didn’t just spend the four weeks playing with bandages and rolling about on the floor – although that was a large part of it. We managed to successfully assess our students and as a team in full we managed to pass hundreds of students from all over the area as trained first aiders, recognised by the Government of Tanzania. The experience highlighted to me the importance of healthcare promotion and global health.

I grew attached to my school in Moshi and I miss teaching the children those skills. In the area they have a large hospital and a few clinics but there are no emergency response teams. No ambulances and no first aiders. This is why our lessons were so important and the students knew this too. Most had been involved with a severe injury at some point in their life, be it burns, car crashes, broken bones, severe bleeds and snake bites. Some of the students who attended our assessments did so well they had to be merited and were given distinctions and were inspire to join the Red Cross, nursing or medical school.

SGI - Ryan Latto 2

In Tanzania I realised that as a nursing student I have a lot of work to do before I can really understand the meaning of health and how to implement successful changes that will one day better our NHS and state of health. This opportunity gave me the inspiration to go further than I thought I could. Therefore, I am now applying for a yearlong post to return to Moshi with First Aid Africa with hopes of moving the charity forward. When I return I will be applying for Masters Degrees in global, public or emergency health and aim to push this to PHD level.

Student funding programmes like the Student Grant Initiative don’t just give funding for students to take a break or travel. The opportunity that I was given has dramatically changed my life for the better. Before leaving I was unsure of what to do and I was becoming under motivated by limiting job prospects. Now I am back on form and looking forward to a career in global health; all thanks to the Student Grant Initiative and the wonderful people at First Aid Africa.”

About Lynsey Cochrane

I joined Edinburgh Napier University as Alumni Officer in 2015. My role involves facilitating events, marketing and communication for the alumni community.

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