Jacob Tadje is a hard working pre-medical student at the University of Utah with big dreams and a heart of gold. He hopes to become an orthopaedic surgeon like his dad, Dr. Tadje. Last, month, he was sponsored by Tadje Orthopaedics to participate in a humanitarian trip to Senegal. This trip was organized By the University of Utah’s Dr. Richard Ingebretsen, MD, PHD.
Dr. Ingebretsen and 7 students spent 5 days in Senegal, and traveled to 4 different villages. The trip was eye-opening. The villages they visited are essentially clusters of huts throughout the savannah. The villages are mostly self-sustaining, and have around 200 people living in each. For many villagers, this was the first time they had spoken to a health professional. Jacob and his team members interviewed each villager to assess needs. They took vitals and treated what they could. They found many people who suffer from joint pain, malnutrition, dehydration, and head fungus. Malnutrition and dehydration are hard to solve long term because of the lack of protein and clean water sources. They were able to teach the people ways to better manage the joint pain, head fungus, and other more minor infirmities.
They found some villagers with more serious ailments, like TB, malaria, and skin cancer. They are planning to analyze the data they gathered and find ways to treat these more serious needs in future trips.
Jacob’s most rewarding experience was helping a 15-year-old boy with a hearing impairment. He was unable to hear anything farther than approximately 15 meters. Jacob looked at his ears and realized he has some major blockages. After Jacob spent some time irrigating and cleaning out the blockages, the boy’s hearing was completely restored and he was overjoyed.
Going to Senegal was rewarding for Jacob and his team members. Jacob left with more gratitude for his way of life, especially access to clean water, a comfortable home, and modern healthcare.
Written by: Rebecca Howard