Medical & Healthcare Volunteering Program in Zanzibar will give you the opportunity to assist in hospitals in a variety of medical disciplines for, both, students and qualified nurses as well as doctors.
The departments include the maternity ward, eye clinic, dental department, Women, children and men wards for general health issues, Gynecology Department, Operation Theater for surgeries, Physiotherapy department, First Aid department, Laboratory and research and X-ray facilities.
It will be a challenging experience to assist and work in a hospital that doesn't have adequate staff, has limited resources and long queues of patients waiting to be treated. One of the challenges is that the wards do not have its own sterilization facilities and everything needs to be sent to the main hospital to be sterilized.
Your role as a volunteer in the medical program will be primarily to assist the local staff on duty. This can differ depending on what level of expertise you have, and for students, it will be more about shadowing the professionals. The challenging circumstances will help you to learn from practical experiences. Volunteers in the past have delivered babies, taken blood, changed dressings, assisted with minor surgery and other activities.
This is an opportunity for volunteers to gain international work experience and come out of their comfort zone. It will be challenging, so volunteers with a healthy dose of independence and flexibility will enjoy learning how the healthcare system works in Zanzibar.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. Participants should have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Medical volunteers must provide a clean criminal background check report, CV, Passport Copy as well as other documents and credentials pertaining to their qualifications prior to joining the program. Pre Med, Medical, Nursing students, CNA’s, midwifery and dental students can join the program. Further details on additional documents shall be provided at the time of joining the program. Qualified medical professionals joining the program need to pay an additional one-off fee of $250 to be certified by Zanzibar Medical Council.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
Medical students are able to shadow the professionals, learn from them and assist whenever needed.
Qualified medical professionals are able to practice medicine if they are certified by the Zanzibar Medical Council. Once the necessary forms, documents and payment is submitted it takes a few weeks to process. This certification is valid for up to one year and costs a once off fee of 250 USD.
- Depending on your skills, you'll be assigned work like suturing wounds, giving vaccinations, etc.
- Assist patients with activities such as getting them from one service point to another.
- You need to be actively involved in the daily procedures of the hospital, taking rounds of the wards, maintaining files, and doing routine patient checkups like measure Blood pressure, pulse, check fever etc.
Volunteers, depending on their background and field of expertise, can assist in:
- The maternity ward
- The eye clinic
- Dental department
- Women, children and men wards for general health issues
- Gynaecology Department
- Theatre for surgeries
- Physiotherapy (3 physiotherapists work here)
- First Aid department
- Laboratory and research
- X-ray facilities
Volunteer Work Schedule
As a volunteer for the Medical Volunteering Program in Zanzibar, Tanzania, your general schedule would be:
- Sunday - Arrival at the destination (Zanzibar)
- Monday - An orientation session will be conducted by the local coordinator, covering the major topics such as safety, culture, language, places to visit, behavior, food, and other suggestions for things to do in Zanzibar.
- Tuesday to Friday - Volunteer work at the placement.
- Weekends - Free to explore the city.
- Breakfast - 07:00 am onwards.
- Working hours at the placement - 08:30 am to 01:00 pm.
- Lunch - 01:00 pm to 02:45 pm (volunteer work post lunch depends on the requirement)
- Dinner - 07:00 pm onwards.
The same work schedule continues from the second week onwards (Monday - Friday).
Note: Please note, the schedule may vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on. Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim and can have a significant impact on any participant who happens to volunteer during the time of Ramadan. The participant schedule shall vary during this time of the year.
Find a beautiful abode away from home in Zanzibar. Volunteering Solutions ensures that our volunteers get the “at home” atmosphere while volunteering.
As Zanzibar is semi-autonomous and part of Tanzania you can fly straight to Zanzibar (over Nairobi, Kilimanjaro or other international airports) or fly to Dar es Salaam. If you fly to Dar es Salaam you need to take a cab to the ferry to Zanzibar, where you can buy a ticket for the relaxing 40-minute boat ride to the island. It is very important that we know about your travel arrangements so the coordinators can be ready for you to arrive. Upon arrival at either the airport or ferry terminus, you will be welcomed by the coordinator who will show you around and take you to your accommodation.
Most volunteers use the daladalas, which have specific routes from your accommodation to Stone Town and onto other destinations. It can be time-consuming but also a great start of the day to experience transport the local way; life stock and big mamas all squeezed into a small minibus. In the first two days, the coordinator will take you to your project and pick you up, but after that, you will need to do it by yourself.
The daladala is very cheap and runs often so fit in and do things like a local!
All volunteers are given an orientation about their project and the location by the local coordinator.
Accommodation is offered with host families in the safe area of Mbwemi just outside Stone Town and close to the airport. You can expect to share a room with other volunteers. We typically use 3-4 host families in the area for our volunteers to stay.
Two of the host families are located next to each other with a local bar within walking distance.
When we receive larger groups of volunteers they are accommodated in our volunteer house. The volunteer house is a fairly large Zanzibar home with a living room/dining room, as well as the kitchen. It accommodates up to 8 volunteers in 2 different rooms and 2 bathrooms. The house has a garden with a secure wall and gate to make sure you are as safe as possible.
Bedding is provided in the form of sheets, but bring a towel for personal use. Mosquito nets are not provided so you can bring one if you choose to. If you don’t have enough space in your suitcase; it is cheap to buy things locally.
The accommodation can be basic, standards are very different in Zanzibar then back home most probably, and showers do not have hot water, but the weather is hot enough to shower cold!
Within easy reach, you will find the main road with food stalls to buy fresh juices, Mandazi (local doughnuts) and any other basic needs. Zanzibar has the most amazing fruit selection and you will find yourself spoiled with the availability and affordability of fruit on the island. Within 20 minutes walk you can find 2 popular bars with fast internet and supermarket with some imported (and expensive) goodies to treat yourself every now and then.
Meals are provided 3 times a day by your host. Meals are based on local ingredients and will include meat, chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes, as well as the favorite ‘chipsi’ (fries) and pancakes. Breakfast will generally consist of tea and coffee, toast, jam and peanut butter with some fruit while lunches and dinners are cooked meals which you can eat after work and at your own preferred time.
During your Free Time
Volunteers will have a lot of free time during the weekend. During weekdays too, your evenings would be free. Some of the activities that you can get involved in during your free time in Zanzibar.
- Visit the old forts, museums and beautiful streets of Stone Town
- Eat all the seafood you can at Forodhani Gardens in the evening
- Go on a spice tour to see how cloves, nutmeg and much more are grown
- Go swimming in crystal clear water
- Snorkel or dive to some of the most beautiful reefs of the world.
- Relax and live the island lifestyle!
All free time activities are at the participant’s own expense.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- 24 hrs Assistance and support from Staff
- Personal collection upon arrival at airport or ferry.
- First day introduction at the project and surroundings.
- Accommodation (shared rooms)
- Meals (3 meals a day)
- Guidance and supervision during your stay
- Offer of tours and outings in the weekends (extra costs can apply)
- Travel & Medical Insurance (Available at an extra cost)
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Air tickets
- Own drinks and luxury items
- Transport on the island with local taxis, bicycle or private transport
FAQ's Application and Program Details
The minimum age requirement for the programs in Zanzibar is 18 years.
Volunteers joining the medical volunteer project must be either Pre-Medical, Medical or Nursing students or possess other qualifications related to medical and nursing field such as CNA or EMT. Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are also welcome to join this program.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 12+ years we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for student groups- college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as groups of colleagues.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The certificate is provided on request.
For our returning volunteers, $50 discount is provided for the application fee for their next Vol Sol program.
Flights and Visa
From the UK, the recommended flights are:
Connecting flight to Zanzibar is Air Tanzania. You can also catch a ferry from Dar.
Ethiopian Airlines fly from London via Addis Ababa and Dar to Zanzibar.
From the USA, there are no direct flights to Tanzania. The best option is to fly from London or Amsterdam.
Health and Safety
Some pointers for the project:
Ensure that you are modestly dressed.
If you are diving or snorkeling, you may be tempted to collect some shells from Zanzibar's many coral reefs. Please do not, as this kills entire reefs, the devastating effects of which can be seen in the well-trodden areas of the East African coast. Although there are shell sellers, you are asked not to buy shells from them, as it simply encourages this harmful industry.
Zanzibar is an amazingly photogenic place but if you want to take photographs of people, please ask for their permission first, out of respect for them.
If you are not Muslim, do not enter any of Zanzibar's mosques.
Keep in mind that your safety comes with your own behavior and looking for your personal items. Lock your room if possible, give valuables to the coordinators to keep for you and be aware of your surroundings.
Zanzibar is alluring to many different tourists and many women from the west will find their African lovers here. Be aware of the smooth talking beach boys that you will encounter and can organize everything for ‘free’ for you or very cheap, there usually is a price to pay somewhere down the line.
We recommend these basic vaccinations for your safety:
Hepatitis A and B
Accommodation and Living
Visit the old forts, museums and beautiful streets of Stone Town.
Eat the seafood you can at Forodhani Gardens in the evening.
Go on a spice tour to see how cloves, nutmeg and much more are grown.
Go swimming in crystal clear water.
Snorkel or dive in some of the beautiful reefs of the world.
Relax and enjoy the island!
For an additional extra cost of $50, we can arrange for your airport drop as well.
Connect with Past Volunteers
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website.