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May 2016 Update

Dear Friends of the Children of Tanzania,

Mary Ellen Kitundu writing

Dear Friends of the Children of Tanzania,

Good news! We are seeing and caring for children every day. And we are also caring for the mothers and the fathers and the grandparents too. Finally we are starting to carry out our mission and our goals. Please feel good about this because without you this would not be possible.

Challenges! In order to give good care, we must have a full staff. We cannot care for children without a laboratory technician to run the tests, a pharmacist to dispense drugs, doctors to see the patients, nurses to care through procedures, and people to keep everything sparkling clean. However, all this costs money until the OPD can become self sustaining. From past experience in other places, we think that will be in December or so. Until then the salaries for these people have become a major concern.

 

What we have done..We have slowed down building except for those projects for designated funds. An example of these designated funds is the money to build another well. Digging starts today. But other building has slowed way down since our first priority is the care of the children. Without that money, we are looking at a gloomy 6 months!

 

What you can do..

  1. Contribute what you can. Paula has the cost of salary for each staff.
  2. Tell others about the need and what we are doing. Encourage them to become involved in this marvelous project.
  3. And pray for us....prayer really does work. We work by faith building this needed hospital, and that faith is sure. When our funds available for building become less and less, because of the needs of the clinic, somehow, someone, somewhere comes through. And it could be you.

 

Thank you so much for what you have done in the past. We look forward to the future. We know this low point at the high point of opening will pass. As my mother use to say when things became difficult, "This too shall pass."

 

Sincerely, Mary Kitundu
President of IHP-US, and IHP-JEMA-Tanzania

Denny Lofstrom writing

The outpatient laboratory has become a reality. The $12,000 donated for lab equipment has purchased a hematology automatic analyzer (replaces the old Coulter Counter with its demanding maintenance and inefficiency) and a dry strip chemistries analyzer on which you can dial in the clinical diagnostic panel each clinician desires for the current patient he or she is working up at the present time. Now that is efficiency and economy, nothing wasted on tests in a rigidly programmed panel that are not desired. And, we have all the standard equipment for doing the old reliable manual hematology, thick and thin blood smears. 

Some urine tests and acid fast tuberculosis slices require the Bunsen burners (and gas cylinders) for processing. These items can be obtained from local suppliers. 

If anyone knows the whereabouts of one of the old standard erythrocyte sedimentation racks and the long, sedimentation tubes that go with that, it would be much appreciated. That takes only 2 cc of blood whereas doing it in the machine takes 10 ccs, and that’s a lot of a little kiddo. Sometimes the old methods are more reliable and economic and accurate than the new-fangled modifications. Such is the case for the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate). 

My brother’s memorial laboratory is up and running. Many thanks to you and blessings to you who have made this possible. 

Selemani Shabani writing

Hello Everyone! 

How are you guys doing? We are doing very well and we are going on with the daily normal activities. 

First of all, I would like to thank everyone of you for all your help and support you have given us so that we managed to begin serving people with health care. This is all YOU. Thank you very much for being a team with us (IHP-JEMA-TZ). People are getting seen at the clinic right now, also people are very happy to have to have the hospital. You are the reason these people are getting seen and they are happy. 

We are working on the place where the volunteers will be eating and also working on the birthing center. The eating place is already started with the birthing center is in the beginning stages. We are working on the birthing center setting it out and the complex must work to connect the birthing center, neonatal ICU and operating rooms and the x-ray building. The birthing center is a huge building and is going to look very good when it is finished. 

Again, thank you very much for all you have been doing for these people in Tanzania. We are asking for more help from you so that we can keep working and serve these people. Thank you for choosing God’s work, let me tell you! Together we can get this hospital done. 

Paula Lofstrom writing

You who sent those checks for $50 and $100 and $250 for children under five to have complete work-ups, thank you. Their mom’s thank you, too, and our clinic is able to function with a bit more money. It’s touch and go right now to cover all the salaries and supplies until the clinic becomes self-sustaining. So, thank you, thank you. 

Salaries for our 40 employees are running about $11,000 a month now. Once the clinic is self-sustaining, that will decrease, but for now it’s a whopper for us each month.

  • A doctor gets $800 a month
  • The Head Nurse gets $800 a month
  • Nurses make $250 a month
  • A nurse’s aid makes $125 a month
  • An Assistant Medical Officer makes $450 a month
  • A laboratory tech makes $500 a month
  • A pharmacist makes $450 a month
  • The receptionist makes $200 a month
  • Cleaners make $165 a month (those bathrooms are cleaned every HOUR)
  • Groundskeepers make $165.00
  • Guards make $165 a month
  • Construction varies according to capabilities, but start at $165.00 a month and increases with skill levels.

Our employees are hard, hard working people and very grateful for having a job. YOU make that possible.We have enough money on-hand for one more month’s salaries only. 

Any salary you can help pay this month keeps that person employed one month longer and keeps us able to continue building and serving. 

What kind of a fund raiser could you have for The Children’s Hospital at Zinga? It need not be spectacular, but a bit is a bit and bit by bit it adds up.

  • A tea?
  • A soccer match?
  • A fun run?
  • A tennis match?
  • A lemonade stand (or other libation?)?
  • A coffee?
  • A “get together” with your book club or quilting group??
  • A bridge or other card playing event?
  • A Fish fry?
  • A Barbecue?

 

It will likely take until Christmas for us to be In The Black at the clinic and until then we need help. Can and would you do that for IHP so that we can continue to serve people here? It has never been so critical. 

In addition Sele mentioned that we’re building a small building that will include my store and Lucy’s kitchen, of course. It’s mostly open sided, the screens will let the lovely breezes through. It’s beautiful here. Beautiful. 

What are we seeing in the clinic? Who are we helping?

Lots of children with malnutrition, colds, viral infections. But, we’re also seeing adults, some with complicated, serious conditions. We had an 86-year-old woman yesterday with a serious, ulcerated, swollen, infected leg. She is diabetic. We had to refer her to a larger hospital for management of her diabetes with insulin and to try to save that leg. 

A few days before that we saw a woman with the symptoms of a bowel obstruction. We sent her to another hospital for evaluation and they treated her for a urinary tract infection. She was back to us the following day in much worse shape, vomiting and obtunded. Yes, it WAS a bowel obstruction and she needed to be referred to a hospital that could and would do the needed surgery. She was started on IVs for fluid replacement. Getting her to the other hospital was the problem. We do not have an ambulance. Sele looked at the 19 for sale in Dar es Salaam and the only two worth purchasing were way, way more than our ambulance fund could afford. 

Thank you to the Canadian organization in Saskatoon, Canada, an ambulance will soon be on its way to us and Eunice Famme has volunteered to pay for shipping it. We’ll use our fund for equipping it when it gets here. God answers prayers. And yes, the lady with the bowel obstruction had surgery and is doing fine. 

We saw an adorable 91 year old who had malaria. Luckily, 3 days of Coartem will take care of that. We saw a 46-year-old with hot flashes who did not understand its relationship to menopause. 

Yesterday I had a fun time in my kitchen. I get fresh milk every day from a woman who has her own dairy cows. This wonderful rich milk has a lot of cream. Each evening I boil the milk and skim the cream and then skim it again in the morning. Sometimes I use the cream in cooking, but it adds up faster than I can use it. 

Way, way back when I was a girl, I could remember my mother teaching me that I musn’t overwhip whipped cream or it would turn to butter. When my boys were little and we were on the farm in Iowa, I milked goats and had the boys sit with that glass churn every Friday night and churn and churn until we had butter. 

But now…..the food processor has that nifty little white disc that you use to whip cream or egg whites and I let it just keep going until voila! I had butter! What a kick. So, I worked the butter in my old wooden butter bowl from 35 years ago with a paddle (big rubber spatula) to get all the buttermilk out, and had butter. It didn’t take long and sure was fun to visit all those memories from long ago. 

Purchased butter here comes from New Zealand or Ireland and isn’t cheap, let me tell you. 

Another wonderful addition to the house where we live this week has been hot water heaters (a gift from Mary Ellen) for the kitchen and for the bathroom shower. This house has been built by Drs. Charles and Lynne Powell, and when the birthing center is completed, they’ll live here, but for now, it’s where Denny and I live. We’ll built our own house nearby as we can, but so far every time we set aside money, it seems to have to go for something else. 

We’re looking at our speaking schedule now for when we return to the U.S. in October. We plan to stay east of the Mississippi this year, so any speaking opportunity in that half of the U.S. would be welcomed. We’ll try to save as much as as possible by staying area to area, but we need some spots to use as anchors to then fill in nearby opportunities. 

Thank you for sharing our lives and our passion for the people here, and for your dedication and kindness. I think kindness is one of the highest human callings. It is what we strive towards above all our natural, human failings. It is doing unto others…… 

May God bless you for your kindness, your generosity, and your caring.

Blessings and gratitude, 
Paula and Denny