Health Partners

Caring for Children


September 2016 Update

Denny Lofstrom writing

When you have to start thinking about parking lots for The Children’s Hospital at Zinga, then you realize progress is being made.


During the dry season, you can park most any place, or drive off the beaten path across the pori (lightly forested area) on a hunting safari as we did fifty years ago, but during the wet season, parking and hunting is an entirely different thing.  You may think you’ll just park on the grass off the roadway and to your dismay you have all four wheels down to the axels and hubcaps after a rain.  The seemingly solid turf is not at all able to support the weight of a vehicle and water may ooze up around the half submerged wheels. 


This becomes an almost impossible situation and extrication is a major undertaking, so providing parking becomes a major project, also.


Sumps must be dug around the parking lot into which water can be collected and the removed dirt can be used to raise the level of the parking area.  Over this large area, aggregate gravel is hauled in and a grader must be rented to spread at least 6” deep to provide a firm surface.


When the parking area is completed, then we will be ready to accommodate patients arriving from more distant areas in both the wet and dry seasons.

Paula Lofstrom writing

Your support for the work of IHP has accomplished miracles during the six months we’ve been at Zinga this time.  Electricity came.  The outpatient clinic opened, and our reputation for quality medical care is starting to be known.  Patients are coming from further and further away, and there has been no advertising.  We have had no big medical teams to talk about. 


The clinic is seeing 20-30 patients a day, about half and half children and adults.  That’s a good thing because for children under five-years-old, there are free services and medications.  So, it will take an average of 50 patients a day or more for the clinic to become self-supporting.  Until that time, it is still dependent on your donations to cover salaries and some operating expenses and medications.


Tiny tot with malaria

Losing Mary Ellen was a huge blow, but thanks to the many generous donations in her memory, the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center has walls that are up to the roofline, and the plumbing construction is being put in place in the 14 patient bathrooms, two staff bathrooms, sinks for the medication room and kitchenette, and soaking sinks for a laundry area.  It’s an exquisite building; Mary Ellen designed it herself.  It is what she wanted and it what it will be.  Thank you. 


Our time at Zinga is winding down. It always comes too soon.  There is always more to do and the desire for more time to do it.  However, this has been a very important six months for IHP-JEMA-TZ. 


Now, the next six months will also be very important for IHP.  Our speaking schedule is below.  There are some significant gaps in it.  Please take a look and see if we’ll be anywhere near you (in the midwest or eastern U.S. during February.  The Sundays of the 12th, 19th, and 26th, are open.  Okay….include Texas. 


Denny will be attending a medical conference on endocrinology in South Beach, FL from January 30th to February 3rd.  You know WE prefer never to use your generous funds for stays at the Ritz.  Is there anyone you or someone you know in the Miami area who could put us up for those dates?  The conference is important for the work we do and the patients we serve.  We’ll give you a tax credit for having us.  We’ll cook our own food.  Thanks for helping us! 


With the birthing center going up, we also have to build the building that will house the operating rooms for emergency deliveries and the neonatal intensive care unit.  They have to go up together.  One cannot open without the other.

Please think about giving back to the world by providing a safe birthing experience and teaching opportunity for the patients we serve and the health care professionals we train.  Please send what you can to:


International Health Partners, U.S.

Joyce Zemel, Treasurer

1811 So. 39th St., #36

Mesa, AZ  85206


Go to our website and click on Just Give.


We have also been accepted into the Thrivent Choice Program for those who use Thrivent Financial. 


You are cordially invited to come to Zinga, either as individual volunteers, or as a group to give service.  It is a life-changing experience for you and a gift for those we serve.  Just email me at and we’ll start working out the timing.  It’s worth it. 

Selemani Shabani writing

Hello IHP-JEMA donors and friends,


First of all I would like to thank God for his loe to us.  His love gave us a chance to know each other and to love each other and also to do this work together.  I am so grateful for being part of thisIHP-JEMA team.  And, I am congratulating you for being on the IHP-JEMA doner list or being a friend and partner. 


Thank you very much for all of the work and everything you have been doing for iHP-JEMA and may God bless you abundantly.


Right now we are working on the x-ray floor and in two days we will be hanging the doors for this building plus the windows.  So, for the next month’s update you are going to see many pictures of the completion of this building.


Also, we have working on the toilet walls for the 14 bathrooms for the birthing center.  Now they are all done.  Also, we are now working on the ring beam for the birthing center.  We re almost done with the form work, then we can start doing the concrete.  Hopefully, next week we will be done with the ring beam for the birthing center.  We are managing to do all of these things because of you!  We couldn’t have done all these things without your help and your support.  Once again, I am thanking you very much for financing the The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.


God has His full purpose for you and my being part of this work we are doing.  So, let’s get this job done the way God wants it to be.  He wants his people to get served here.  Secondly, I am congratulating you for being a part of saving the lives of these poor mothers and children.


May God bless you and your family.  Thank you very much, Sele

Laurene Griest writing

I am Laurene Griest, counselor from Phoenix, Arizona. What an unexpected and delightful second trip to Tanzania.  I have returned after spending a month in Mwanza some 9 years ago in Nyakato.  My first trip came after teaching 4th grade in Kansas City 54 years ago and teaching a special project on Africa.  I saw pictures of the children who had many unmet needs.


Paula and I first met 62 years ago in the 7th grade in Kanasas Ciity.  Our paths have crossed so many times.  I connected with her again when she and her husband, Denny worked for a year in Antarctica.  We emailed each other while I advised Paula and Denny who had a special patient  that needed help.


So, here we are again experiencing how she and her husband, Denny, are making a difference in this exotic country called, Tanzania.  My experience in Nyakato was life-changing.  The building of The Children’s Hospital at Zinga continues to astound me. I have watched the impact their work ha made over the years and can’t believe my eyes.  Many of the staff in Mwanza followed IHP to Zinga which shows their devotion to the work. 


Zinga is just a couple miles from the Indian Ocean across from Zanzibar.  Many teams have come to build, paint and do what ever was needed to make this a reality.  Room after room is pleasant for the patients and efficient for staff.  Each staff member devoted to keeping up to date with new information which we bring as volunteers..


I am not a medical person and that concerned me at the beginning but I found my need to make a difference and was able to add my experience as a counselor to be helpful.


The people we know and the people we meet always smile with Jambo and then with Asante (thank you).  Our response is kwaheri  kwa sasa na asante na wewe (goodbye for now and thank you, too).

Sam Monte writing

My name is Sam Monte.  I’m Laurene’s husband.


During our stay at Zinga we took a few days to visit Selous Game Reserve.  Our safari trip was a great experience.  The accommodations were great.  The food was 5-star and the staff was attentive and very polite.  The safari animals also seemed to cooperate and would pose for our pictures.  I would recommend this trip to anyone.


Mary Omwake writing

What an amazing gift to experience the noble work of Denny and Paula Lofstrom and the late Mary Ellen Kitundu ……   and all of YOU  generous givers who have been a part of this truly remarkable work of creating the first free standing pediatric hospital and eventually a daycare center and orphanage here at Zinga.

I remember when Dr. Denny and Paula were laying the foundation for their retirement home  in Arkansas 15 years ??   ago and the first invitation came for them to return to Africa and help with some planning on a dilapidated hospital in Iambi, one of the poorest areas of Tanzania.

It has been a great blessing watching God at work as they have taken each step that followed, to complete two hospital projects, create the first BS nursing program in Tanzania with over 900 graduated and current students and NOW, The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.    When I think of what has been accomplished and what lies ahead I am delighted.  


Today I watched a young boy have his hand lovingly massaged by the nurse as she prepared him for the needle that would relieve his chronic asthma and pneumonia. So much love and excellence was expressed.   Next door in a state of the art laboratory his urine was being tested. Outside other children and their parents waited for their turn to see the doctor in a child friendly porch, with colorful flowers and animals.  One day last week the oldest patient was 101 years old and the youngest patient was one month old, The baby was lovingly held by her mother whose first child had not survived.   Everyday, simple and sometimes dramatic miracles are happening here.


The awareness that the great work here in Tanzania will continue to grow and expand due to the inspired vision and selfless service of these dear souls Dr. Denny and Paula and the late Mary Ellen Kitundu. It thrills me and encourages me to share what is going on here with others.  It is Love in Action in Africa!


 To everyone reading this who is currently including the Children’s Hospital at Zinga in your

 monthly giving, you can be sure every dollar you give is being used wisely (and I would add, frugally).   If you haven’t given financially, would you take it into prayer?  You can make a big difference in the health and wellbeing of God’s precious children.  And if you are fortunate enough to visit, count yourself blessed beyond measure, I do.

Lynda Sardeson writing

Lynda Sardeson here; I’m a nurse and certified diabetes educator from La Porte, Indiana, USA.

I’ve been volunteering and teaching with IHP every other year for the last 10 years in Mwanza at Nyakato, in Dodoma at St John’s University School of Nursing, and here in Zinga at the Children’s Hospital.   This past January, February, and March I was able to be the luggage “schlepper” for Paula and Denny as we traveled across the USA visiting various churches, Rotaries, and small groups in homes telling people about what IHP is doing in Zinga with the Children’s Hospital.   


My friend Cherie Fuller and I arrived August 24th. Cherie was here for two weeks and I for a month.  Cherie is a “computer guru” and helped Paula immensely.  Before she left we were able to arrange a 3 day Safari.  We flew to Kilimanjaro Airport and then drove to Tarangarie game preserve, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater near the Serengeti.  An amazing 3 days!  We thank Vesna, Paula’s friend and travel consultant for arranging all of it.


 I’ve been excited to be back in Zinga, working with Dr. Bon, Dr. Jesse and Dr. Eric at the Children’s Hospital Outpatient Department (OPD) from Monday-Saturdays.  Each day starts at 8 am with prayer in Miriam’s office.  She is the “Head Nurse/Matron”.  About 15 of the staff gather to praise God and pray for the patients we have seen and will see and for each other.   It is so obvious the staff loves what they do and love the patients they are here to serve.


Every day is different.  The OPD is open and word of mouth has spread and we are seeing up to 30 patients a day.  As mentioned earlier we are seeing patients from 1 month old to 101.   A lot of children with malaria, and we have performed several circumcisions.  Circs aren’t done here on newborns.  The people feel it is cruel to do it to babies so small.  However, it is not an easy matter for child of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 years of age either.  All we have is a little xylocaine to be injected.  No general anesthesia.  Many children have malaria.  Adults, too and/or typhoid and many adults have high blood pressure, and diabetes.  So we’ve done a lot of teaching.  The patients seem very pleased with the information they are getting and actually use it! 


It is wonderful to see all the construction that has been completed and in various stages of completion since I was here last.  It’s amazing how much has been built!   The kitchen and eating area for the volunteers is coming along.  The walls of the Birthing Center are up and they are getting ready to start the Neo-natal intensive care and nursery.  The x-ray and water purification building is really coming along.   We can’t wait for the x-ray machine to arrive in November. We’ve seen many patients who would really benefit from x-rays like the little eight-year-old girl who fell off a truck and injured her arm or the elderly man who fell, probably broke some ribs and punctured a lung.   


I was honored to be asked to teach all the staff, both medical and construction and guards about diabetes.  So after prayer time in the mornings this week everyone has gathered under the Mango and Cashew trees and we have a ½ hour class on diabetes.  What fun!


The little round house I had built in honor of my son is completed and this is where I stayed.  It is called #3, has both solar and regular electricity, 2 sets of bunk beds with mosquito netting, a bathroom with a flush toilet, sink and even a hot water heater!  There are 2 small plastic tables being used as night-stands and two chairs.  There are screens in the windows and the front door, beaded curtains in the windows, and clothes rods in the alcoves on either side of the bathroom to hang clothes.  Sele has done a wonderful job getting this all done for me, even to putting in a ceiling fan!  What a God-send he is!  When I am not here, Paula uses my house for other volunteers to stay in.  So, if you come out to Zinga to volunteer perhaps you will stay in my house.  Karibu!  You are welcome.


p.s.  Don’t forget…Paula is an amazing gourmet chef and Denny has the most interesting stories to tell.  You will love it here!