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July 2016 Update

Dr. Charles Powell writing

I had the opportunity to visit the site for Children's Hospital, Zinga, during the month of September. It was a prolonged stay, and I had a wonderful time. We were able to attend the 7th Annual Conference on Birth Defects in Dar Es Salaam, to spend quite a bit of time at Zinga, to see the nearly completed, completely beautiful Outpatient Center at Zinga, and to relax in the warm Tanzanian sunshine. 

My wife Lynne and I simply love Tanzania. I must admit, it was great to see what has been done on the hospital property. Thanks to our contractor, Selemani Shabani, the workmanship is exquisite. Sele built a house that we will be using as our home, and it is stunning. I am grateful for Sele's talent and ability. Nonetheless, the big picture can be overwhelming. We do not have the luxury of sitting back to consider the wonderful work that has been done. 

There is much to do. Our next major project is to build the Women and Children's Services Center. This will include labor and delivery, nursery, and neonatal intensive care services. After that, we have a few small projects: the rest of the children's hospital! We became involved because I thought a trip to Tanzania would be fun. We could volunteer, and my children could work on the eye center at Nyakato. Little did I know it would become a commitment. So how can you become involved? Let me count the ways! 
 

  1. First and foremost, pray for International Health Partners US-TZ, Children's Hospital, Zinga, and those who are involved in the project. God hears and answers prayers.
  2. Second, Donate to IHP. No, that doesn't necessarily mean money. Your time, your ability, your skills, and of course if you are so blessed, your money. We need volunteers, both in Tanzania and in the US. Please consider that the bulk of our fund raising is done when Paula and Denny are in the US, and predominately while they are on the road. We most certainly would benefit from folks who lend their persuasive voices to making presentations and fund raising for the project.
  3. Third, come to see the work in Zinga. You'll be hooked. You may even do something crazy, like build a house and plan to spend your “retirement” there.
  4. Fourth, talk to others. Show them your enthusiasm. Spread the word.

 

I could go on, but I've already written too much! Thank you for your support of IHP.

Denny Lofstrom writing

Dear Friends of the Children of Tanzania,

The Update news this month is very sad. Mary Ellen Kitundu passed away unexpectedly. She suffered from asthma for many years that unfortunately masked symptoms of repeated small heart attacks.

She was visiting Zinga to help in the organization of the newly completed outpatient department when she experienced what she described as an asthmatic attack. Taken to the clinic she did not respond to the treatment measures for asthma. An ambulance was called from Bagamoyo to take her to Muhumbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam where she was admitted to the ICU. Mary Ellen improved with intubation and oxygen and was stabilized and extubated and appeared to be recovering, then relapsed. It was then uncovered that she was having cardiac symptoms and she was transferred to the cardiac ICU. As it happened, an American cardiac team was there and scheduled her for angiography. Unfortunately, she had another heart attack, and then another, and did not make it even to have the procedure.

Her three children in the U.S. had been informed of her condition and were on their way when she died. They were present at her funeral. They came up to Zinga a few days later with their Uncle Jesse to see the progress since they’d been here last.

What a tremendous loss this is for all of us. But the work must go on for us at Zinga. Her final wish was for the work to continue. 
 

The fencing crew came from Utah, not with swords and shields, but with muscle and determination. They went to work and constructed a Crayola picket fence parallel to the 179 foot outpatient building. This colorful fencing will keep the children from wandering into the roadway that runs in front of the clinic. What a GREAT job! 

In another vein, not entirely negative, a lot of effort and planning went for naught when the Regional Commissioner, on advice from the national security cancelled the vice president’s cornerstone laying visit, letting us know only one day before it was scheduled. 

Reasons: the birthing center wasn’t far enough along, the walls would have to up to the roof level. The grass had to be cut. ALL of the grass so a bomb could not be hidden. And the 2 miles of curving roads through the village and countryside must be straightened and graded. This is the Village’s issue, not IHP’s. 

Meanwhile, we have more time for donations to come in, for the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center. When that happens, we can get those walls up up up!! Donations of any amount will be appreciated. 

In the meantime, the outpatient department is open and seeing more patients each week, both adults and children. It is not yet self-sustaining. IHP must still pay the salaries. We were counting on the publicity from the Vice President’s coming to help with patient volume, but now that is not happening, but slowly slowly, word is getting out about the quality care here, especially for children at The Children’s Hospital at Zinga. 

Your prayers, thoughts, and condolences have certainly helped us through this hard, hard time.

Thank you. Denny 

Paula Lofstrom writing

As you know, Mary Ellen Kitundu passed away unexpectedly on July 17th. She left behind a legacy, a dream, a vision for improved health care for Tanzanians, especially for women and children. Her final wish was for it to continue. It will. Continue. With God’s grace and your help, it will. Continue. 

Each of us on the boards of IPH-US and IHP-JEMA-TZ have new roles to fill. That has been evolving and but we’re catching our breaths, realizing that we can indeed go on, and seeing the ways to do that. We will. Continue. 

The IHP-JEMA-TZ Board meeting was held yesterday. Dr. Jesse Kitundu stepped into the role of President. Other offices were rearranged a bit and each of us accepted a few of Mary Ellen’s many responsibilities. We are a cohesive, hard-working group of people and two younger people, extremely qualified, have agreed to join the board. We will Continue. We will make Mary Ellen’s vision and dream into a reality for the people of Tanzania. 

Meanwhile, things have moved forward here at The Children’s Hospital at Zinga. We have had wonderful teams, two from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sandy, Utah. My goodness how hard they worked. The first team worked with our people to put in the footings and foundation for what will now be called the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center

The second team made the adorable “Crayola fence” to protect children who are walking from the parking area to the clinic entrance. It is adorable. 

The Vice President of Tanzania was going to come and open the facility officially and lay the foundation stone for the birthing center, but security issues have caused a delay. We didn’t know about these, and only today, the day before she was to come, did the officials come to inspect and give us the news that the road coming to the facility (not OUR road, but the village road) is not adequate, has too many curves in it, and must be straightened in order for her to come. So, it will be awhile. 

Meanwhile, we’ll continue building, but we’re running out of money for blocks, mixing sand, and rebar in order to continue building. 

Peter, Jr., Walter, and Ancina Kitundu, Mary Ellen’s children, have said that all memorials for their mother should go to IHP, to fulfill her dream. So, if you would like to send a memorial in her honor, please do so to: 

International Health Partners, U.S.
1811 So. 39th St., #36
Mesa, AZ 85206

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CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

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Call Joyce at 480-540-9317