Health Partners

Caring for Children


August, 2017 Update from Zinga

Jesse Kitundu writing

Jesse Kitundu, President of IHP-JEMA-TZ writing:


Dear Friends of Children and Mothers of Tanzania.

 July and August 2017 have been unique for us. 


Volunteers have imparted to us both the knowledge and skills, starting from vegetable round garden, dermatology team, how to feed children with disabilities, building and painting the houses, knowledge and skills of how to handle an emergency. We are delighted and appreciate their dedication. We encourage more of such activities to continue as this improves our quality of patient care.


MEK Memorial Birthing Centre, is going on well. Currently we working on the roof.


Diagnostic has strengthened further as the x-ray equipment is already installed ane  now we are waiting to hear from East Africa Atomic Energy office for final permission to start using it. Patients are excited anxious, waiting to know when are going to start to offer this service.  A water plant was installed earlier this season and is helping us to have a clean purified water in our facility. We thank the team for the good work.


 The number of patients is normalizing again after the roads were flooded during the rainy season. More patients are being seen now as word is spreading quickly about the good quality of care offered.  A saying in Kiswahili is, “Food is produced and cooked by few but eaten by many.”


 There is no small donation; whatever is donated it serves many.  We welcome any donation and it is appreciated. 


Dear Friends, as you can see all of this is happening because of contributions, making The Children’s Hospital at Zinga a place for people to be served now. 


Thank you very much.   Dr. Jesse



Dr. Charles Powell writing:  


I find myself looking forward to my next trip to Tanzania in November.  There is a special attraction for me that I may never understand, but many of you who have traveled to Tanzania or various places in Africa will know well.  The pace of life is very different, and of course, the weather is quite a bonus if you are no longer fond of cold weather - like me.  By the time I arrive, there will be great changes on the hospital campus.  It occurred to me that we are working intensely on the largest single project of Children’s Hospital, Zinga, the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center.  The birthing center is the biggest of the planned buildings, and it also occupies a place of great importance to the facility.  We look forward to providing a high level of care to women and infants.  When the NICU is built, we will work toward developing a true Level III unit, capable of caring for critically ill infants.  The recent matching funds for NICU construction are greatly appreciated, as well as ongoing support for the birthing center.


There also will be opportunities for relaxation during my visit.  I do plan to put our wonderful swimming pool to good use.  If you familiar with, or remember from years past "Ham Radio," you will understand my radio hobby.  I will set aside time to operate “on the air” as 5H3DX.  Tanzania is not a rare country, but out of the ordinary.  If anyone is a licensed amateur radio operator and interested in working a little “DX,” let me know.  Better still, plan a trip to visit Zinga and have a little fun of your own.


Not to imply that the trip is going to be all fun, there are things to learn and opportunities to teach one another.  I am hoping to hone my knowledge of tropical diseases with Dr. Kitundu and Dr. Bon.  One of my contributions will be to work with them on splinting simple fractures.  I also have materials to teach the staff the neonatal resuscitation program called “Helping Babies Breathe.”  I am always both pleased and gratified that there is so much to learn from one another.  I will be working on our campus wireless network, and installing a local phone system for communicating from building to building and room to room. 


Remember, there is much more to be done at Zinga. Although our largest project is certainly the MEK Birthing Center, future construction will include completion of the NICU, a general pediatrics ward, surgical wards, malnutrition services, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a burn unit, infectious disease services, and the list goes on. When the buildings are there, they need equipment.  Your help makes you a part of the process and the project.  Consider putting your fund raising skills to work at home or in your community.  Would you like to give presentations?  We can help train you for that task.  Paula and Denny need a break now and then!  Consider a visit as a volunteer, sending supplies, organizing a container shipment, or personal financial support.  Your help improves the lives of many children in Tanzania.


Charles W. Powell, MD

President, International Health Partners - US





Dennis Lofstrom writing:


The end of the rainy season lingers on and on in the form of what our neighbors all “The Mango Rains.”  All the huge mango trees suddenly bloom with brownish golden yellow blossoms (Makes one think of autumn leaves on the deciduous trees in appearance, but this isn’t the end of the season but the beginning.)  Little clustes of mangos start to form and in the months ahead will increase in size and hang heavy on these big trees.


For now the sky is clouded with grey mango rain clouds with the sun occasionally breaking through to cheer the day and encourage us to swim and do our daily dozen laps.  We fit our exercise time in between the rains so as not to be in the pool when it thunders.  


The work on the children’s hospital progresses with the metal trusses for the 220’ x 80’ birthing center being hoisted up and welded into place, and today the trenches for the foundation of the building to house the NICU and operating rooms are being marked off so the digging can begin. 


The progress is YOUR gift to the people of Tanzania. 

 Thank you.  Denny


Paula Lofstrom writing:


You Did It!!!!


The Double Match Grant was an astounding success!!  Your generosity has enabled us to start the NICU/Operating Room building that will adjoin the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center.  THANK YOU!!!  YOU DID IT!!


The donations have more than doubled the original $10,000 match challenge by Dr. Christine Petersen.  Then, as you know, The Tony and Renee’ Marlon Foundation decided to match again any money given to match Christine’s challenge.  Today, two more donations came in through Joyce, and when one pledge for $1,000 is fulfilled, and we expect it will be, the total generated for IHP is…….drum roll, please…….$41, 608.33.  


Your amazing generosity has gone to work already.  The stakes, strings, and chalk lines are now on the cleared ground and the footings are ready to be dug for the NICU building.  They will start next week doing that and there will be enough money to put in the footings and foundation for the building and we’ll start making the blocks for the walls.  You.  Did.  It.  Thank you.  


In the picture, I am standing in what will be the actual NICU room.  The other big rooms behind me are the operating rooms, prep and recovery rooms.  The rooms on the NICU side will be for resuscitation, office, kangaroo care, NICU for babies born at other facilities, storage, cleaning supplies, laundry, bathrooms, etc. 


That temporary shed will come down.  It was where the welding was done for the trusses for the birthing center.  


To help to build the rest of this building, please consider continuing to support the project as you responded to the challenge grant.  Please send your gifts that will save babies’ lives to:


International Health Partners, U.S.

Joyce Zemel Treasurer

1811 So. 39th St. #36

Mesa, AZ  85206




Go to our website, and click on Donate Now!




Call Joyce at:  480-540-9317


Thank you!!


As usual at this time of the year, I’m adding our speaking schedule that is almost filled up for Sundays, but we will be happy to speak at service clubs, book clubs, living rooms, medical schools, colleges and universities telling the story of The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.  Please take a look at the schedule and see when we’ll be in your area.


Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny


Dr. Bonaventura Mezezele writing:


Here is the Clinic/OPD update.


The clinic now is well-known by most of Bagamoyo villages. We haven’t announced our clinic on radio or TV nor magazine, so only when people who get good services tell other people to come as word of mouth spreads, more people come. We now have good number of attendance


But most of patients need surgery, admission, obstetric services and delivery since  and since we don’t have an operating set-up except for minor cases, or ward to admit patients we must refer them Bagamoyo or Dar. 

So pts will be comfortable when our toperating rooms in the NICU building of the birthing center and ward are completed.


This month has a cool climate and a mix of sunny and rainy days and a breeze which is good for plans and animals and humans.


Lastly we had a good time working with Jan who is an  experienced nurse who worked in ICU and the emergency room for 35 years.  She is very active and quick and mobile in all departments. She taught the staff how to perform CPR effectively and to read ECG in an emergency. Really we learned a lot from her we are here to say thank you Jan you are warmly welcome to return.


Dr. Bon


Jambo! My name is Ron Overmyer. I live in Oak Harbor, Ohio. I worked in 4-H youth development, agriculture and agricultural business development for 37 years as an Ohio State University Extension agent. I have also volunteered for short-term agricultural consultation assignments in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique. My wife, Janice is a registered nurse. She will share her thoughts in this update. We have two children and four grandchildren.

 I have worked with Denny and Paula for 13 years on their hospital projects. They are great friends. I “wrote” the business plan for this project. “Wrote” is in quotation because I can only write a very good business plan if the client has a clear vision and mission, a detailed plan in how to accomplish the vision and mission, solid business practices to implement the plan and the drive to go after what is needed to be successful regardless of the difficulty. The plan must come from the client; not from me. I just organize the words for them in a formal business plan. IHP has all the necessary criteria in place for success.


 I have also helped them make contacts with donors and medical organizations. Their drive, enthusiasm and vision is contagious. It just drew me into the project. I wanted to experience it for myself.  I painted the interior of the eatery, helped put sand in sidewalks with pavers and helped layout the new neo-natal center for construction. I am very glad that I came to experience being part of building a hospital that will meet the underserved needs of children, mothers, babies and their families.





   Greetings from Tanzania!  My name is Jan Overmyer. I am a retired RN from Oak Harbor, Ohio. I have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. I am married to Ron, who has been working with Denny and Paula for over 13 years in planning their hospital projects from the business aspect.

   We hosted Paula and Denny in our home in 2015 and 2016 when they were in Ohio giving presentations.  This made coming to Tanzania less intimidating since we know them well.         Ron and I were able to obtain used medical equipment from Columbus Children’s Hospital. We crated the equipment before it was sent to Tanzania. We have collected baby items for the birthing center from organizations in Northwest Ohio. We have cloth diapers, onesies, sleepers, blankets, caps, socks and beanie babies to give out to children in the clinic. I have made hundreds of cloth sanitary napkins for the women here.

   During our 3 weeks here, I have worked in the clinic each day, except Sundays.  The head nurse needed a vacation to return to her home in Kenya, so I filled in.  The staff here have been so nice to work with.  They really care about the patients and do a great job with the limited resources that they have.  

   Dr. Bon and Dr. Kitundu have been very gracious in teaching me about the tropical diseases seen here.  I instructed the staff how to do CPR.  They were very receptive and enjoyed practicing with the mannequins that I brought.

   I have been impressed with how much the parents care about their children and try to get prompt care when they show signs of being ill.  Malaria is so common here.  Even with the language barrier, I found that children are so much alike everywhere.  I am so happy that I have seen firsthand what the Children’s Hospital in Zinga offers the poor people in this country.  I will be better able to solicit donations for the cause.




Selemani Shabani writing:


Hello IHP-JEMA donors.


I am writing this part of the Update while I’m having my breakfast at Lofstrom’s.  Mama Paula always feeds me when I’m here.  


I pray that everyone of you are doing well.  We are all perfectly find and we are doing very well with our daily working activities.  


I am thanking every one of you for your dime and donations; money and work you have been volunteering at Zinga or working there in order to donate here.  


We are able to do a lot of things just because of you.  You are so important to us and the work you are making possible to do here.  As you can see, the birthing center trusses are going up.  This week we will finish the truss-work and next week we are going to start working on the purlins and thereafter will be the roofing and the roof work will be complete for the birthing center.  Thank you very much for doing this with us. 


Also, as you can see the picture above, we have started working on the NICU and operating room building -here we call operating rooms “theatre.”  The buildings are next to the Outpatient Building.  The birthing center and NICU building are adjoined by a 50’ covered corridor, and then line up with the x-ray building.  All of this is for maximum efficiency with patient flow and staff accessibility.  


Again, I am thanking you very much for doing this – God’s work.  Without you we can’t do it.


We are working on the Lofstrom house/hostel.  Now we are working on the ring beam and after that we are going to start working on the walls for this house.  We are very busy and you are the ones keeping us busy and we like being busy!  Thank you very, very much for your help and support for IHP-JEMA-TZ, for your help and your serving many lives here in our country.  May God bless you and your families forever.


Sincerely, Selemani Shabani