Medical Camp


1. What is Medical Camp?

The purpose of the medical camp is to bring basic quality health services to people who would otherwise not have easy access to them.

Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Oysterbay is committed to an annual medical camp that is centered in an underserved area that lacks adequate health care facilities and has an abundance of at risk people. It is designed to coincide with the long and short rains that are experienced in Tanzania, when malaria cases are most prevalent.

2. Why a Medical Camp? 

Rotary International Areas of Focus

Of the six areas of focus, our club's medical camp addresses two directly (disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health) and two indirectly (basic education and literacy, economic and community development).

We incorporate what possibly is the next big, international Rotary initiative (Malaria) and in organizing medical camps are gaining important knowledge on the ground.

Basic Needs of the Community

Tanzania ranks 152 out of 187 countries on the UN's Human Development Index and 156 out of 190 in WHO's most recent ranking of health systems.

On the targets agreed in the Abuja declaration the Tanzanian Government dramatically under- spends on health care.

Average life expectancy at birth is 52yrs, under 5 mortality rate is 75/1'000 live births. 

Malaria prevalence is 27%, Malaria accounts for 40% of outpatient attendances, HIV prevalence is 6%.

There is evidence that even limited health service fees are prohibitive to the poor, especially to women/single mothers and children· According to proposed National Staffing Levels Tanzania should have 125,924 health workers but only 35,202 were available representing a deficit of 72%.

The simple fact that hundreds of people waited all day in the sun to see a doctor speaks for itself.

Rotarians' Capacity


Despite attributes like generosity, skilfulness, diversity and being well-networked there is one aspect that limits Rotarians in what they can do as volunteers: free time. A medical camp is a highly focused and high- impact way to leverage ample resources but limited time. The opportunity to volunteer and intervene personally in the communities (as opposed to simply funding projects) is an essential and defining element of being a Rotarian.


3. Medical Camp 2012 Summary

On 18 March, 2012, the Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Oysterbay (RCOB) held its 2nd free medical camp; this time in an under-served area in Bagamoyo District. Participants were screened for Malaria, HIV, Hyper Tension, Diabetes, ENT (ear, nose and throat) illnesses, eyesight and chronic disease risk factors. In the camp's specially set up pharmacy free medicines and spectacles were given to the people diagnosed with relevant health and eyesight problems. Participants also received a general health check-up to identify other common ailments and risk factors, and counselling was given on life style factors such as nutrition and the role of exercise.

To excite and entertain people while waiting in the queue a drama troupe specializing in entertainment- based health education presented an educational performance about the importance and methods of HIV and malaria prevention.

Free mosquito nets were given to those in the highest risk groups: children under 5, pregnant women and people over 55 years of age.

People with medical issues that could not be addressed on-site were given official referrals to Bagamoyo District Hospital for further attention.

4. Sustainability & Impact

Typically, people in rural areas don't see a doctor until they feel sick. A free medical camp reduces the (financial) barrier and enables those with dormant/chronic diseases to identify their ailments and deal with it through behavioural change or treatment. Children perceived to have a learning disability may find out that they are in fact just short-sighted. Addressing this simple issue can potentially change their lives.Throughout the camp we collect data from each participant. These data are evaluated and shared with medical institutions after the camp and provide valuable statistical background about the state of health in the community. People who are referred are traced to verify that referral has actually taken place.


5. Next Steps

As a club we realize that the Achilles heel lies in what happens after the camp. We are therefore discussing a modified approach and a longer-term involvement with a higher degree of vertical integration in one particular community (as opposed to moving venue with each camp). As a result of the last camp our club has established excellent relations with local players on all levels, community, medical and institutional. There are strong calls from the local partners to repeat the exercise in the same venue over a period of time and to monitor the impact on the state of health of the community. We are excited about this prospect and have started initial discussions, both club internally, within Rotary and with all of those who have made the last camp such a success. We are committed to continuing our efforts to provide health care to those most in need and invite interested parties to find out how they can support us and participate in the effort.

6. How To Become A Medical Camp Sponsor

To sponsor future medical camps, or to find other ways to help sustain the medical camp program, please email us at, contact Sophia Mang'enya at +255(0)767210761, or join us at one of our meetings every Tuesday at 7:30am at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.