Health Partners

Caring for Children


September, 2017 Update from Zinga

Jesse Kitundu writing

Dear Friends of Children and Mothers of Tanzania.


This has not been as busy a month as compared to the last two previous months. Most of the volunteers have left, and only two young doctors from Austria are here and they leaving in two days.  A quite place on the housing side with only Paula and Den being left behind and too on Monday will be on their way back to the USA.


Without all the construction volunteers the construction work that is going on as usual, the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center and now the operating suite and neonatal ICU. This is only possible because your donations. Thank you very much.


The number of patients seen daily is steady and hopefully this will increase once the x-ray starts working.


Dear friends, we appreciate for continuity of supporting us on creating our dream of quality health care for the families of Tanzania. Good friends always remain in our hearts. 


Always stay Blessed,

Jesse Kitundu, Medical Director, President, IHP-JEMA-TZ



Charles Powell writing:


As of today, according to my airline app I have 45 days before I leave for Zinga.  The usual decisions need to be made about what to bring and what to leave.  The house in Zinga is now fairly well supplied with my clothing and equipment, so there isn’t much to take along those lines.  I have a pile of blue surgical towels I have collected.  I was sent a message today that I am to receive a box of pulse ox probes for small children (for measuring oxygen levels in the blood) before I leave.


One bit of exciting news is that we have a phone system, much of which I will carry with me to set up and install on this trip.  The march of technology is wonderful.  A phone system, that did much less, was install in my office about 17 years ago at a cost of nearly $9000.  The system we have put together for a few hundred dollars is easy to configure, handles many more extensions, and has features like dialing in a “wake-up” call plus reminders built in.  At this point, we simply need more phones.  When we have an Internet connection, we will be able to make phone calls to and from the US and Canada without charge. Being a techno-geek, I get pretty excited about things like this.  We also have more work to do on our campus wireless network.


I learned today that Dr. Eric has left Zinga for medical school training.  I knew he was going to go, but I didn’t realize it was so soon!  He will be a fine MD.  We wish him well in his journey, and we look forward to his return armed with knowledge and experience to keep us on our toes.


Some of you may know that I am an Amateur Radio operator.  The younger generation often has no idea what that is, but some of us who are more, shall we say, “mature” grew up with it.  Going to Tanzania presents a unique opportunity for “Ham Radio” operators to turn the tables.  Instead of chasing the distant station, you are the distant station.  This adds greatly to my personal enjoyment of the trip.  If there are any licensed radio operators who are interested in making a “DXpedition” as part of a volunteer trip to Tanzania, please make contact with me (via NK8O/QRZ).


This will be my sixth trip to Tanzania.  The first was met with some trepidation because we didn’t know many folks, we didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t know if we were going to contract some exotic disease, would we get sick from the food, the water, the…. well, you may have thought on your own list.  All I can say now is I can’t wait to return, and I don’t worry about any of those things anymore!


Charles W. Powell, MD

President, International Health Partners US



Dennis Lofstrom writing:


Once again it is transition time.  This is the time of year when I set aside the hat I wear as C.O.O., Chief Operations Officer, and put this hat on Sele, our project manager’s head for the next six months while Paula and I return to the U.S. to fundraise.


Paula is putting our schedule in this update.  We have less than a week, 3 days, in fact, to get packed.  We are sorting through and choosing to take with us only the essential bookwork and personal items we will need while in the U.S.  This always produces a fair amount of head scratching, “Will I need this?  Or not? And how much does it weigh?”  Weight restrictions on international flights have become so onerous – extra bags cost $200! 


We will continue to Skype with Sele as often as possible as we have before.  That’s really convenient allowing all parties to remain current on what is happening on a daily basis with IHP in the U.S. and in Tanzania.


On the 25th of September we will, God willing, be on our way, flying from Dar es Salaam to Zurich and on to the U.S., a 24+ hour trip all together, hoping to see many of you while we are touring the U.S. in 2017 and 2018.  



Paula Lofstrom writing:


You donors who have supported the work of IHP, know that I send hand-written thank you notes to each of you.  It is my honor to do so.  Now, my grandchildren remind me I am a dinosaur and that young people won’t even be able to read script.  Oh my.  That won’t stop me, of course.  Truth be told, I don’t even have a smart phone.  So, maybe my old-fashioned ways become more obsolete as time goes by.  But still….


As Den has said, we’re starting the great “pack-up-a-thon.”  Mostly that means we’re packing up the items to be brought back for you to purchase to help build The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.  In the one bag Den and I share, it’s paperwork and minimal personal packing – not even a toothbrush goes back and forth for me.  Have one here.  Have one there.  


Our home here in Tanzania is being built.  It’s actually more “hostel” than private home.  It will sleep 16 guests.  Denny is “reading the paper on the porch” in the picture.  Hopefully by next year, there will be walls, too. 


We’re so looking forward to visiting you and sharing the story of IHP.  Please note the speaking schedule below.  There are some empty Sundays and there are lots of mid-week days available for Rotary clubs, any service organization, your living room with a few friends, and schools, of course.  


Your support for the work makes it possible to continue.  The patients are counting on it.  The Matching Grant Challenge was an astounding success.  On Monday they’ll begin making the 17,000 cement blocks necessary to build it.  Then, of course, there will be the roof, windows and doors (as we also need for the birthing center), floors, plumbing and wiring and paint.  


By the way, we’re in DESPERATE NEED of the three machines it takes to put in the required terrazzo flooring.  Together they cost $7,000.  Can you help with that?  We cannot put in tile floors because bacteria can grow in the grout between the tiles.  Terrazzo is seamless, will be polished, coated, and waxed and kept sparkling clean.


To help with the floors or in any of the many other necessary ways, 

Please send what you can to:


International Health Partners, U.S., Inc.

Joyce Zemel, Treasurer

1811 So. 39th St., #36

Mesa, AZ  85206

Or go to our website, and click on Donate Now 

Or call Joyce at:

480- 540 – 9317.


Like you, we’re praying for relief for the many victims of the flooding and hurricanes and the earthquake.  There is so much need in so many places.  We understand that and we know you must make choices.  We honor that and doubly appreciate what you can share with the children of Tanzania.   



Selemani Shabani writing a Thank you note. 


I am thanking all of you IHP JEMA donors for all the help and support. BIG WOW! ,We have received your donations for the operation suite and NICU building that will construct the building from the foundation to the roof level. 


We have laid out this very large building. Hopefully, next week we will start making all the blocks and getting everything ready for these projects.  As you can see in the picture below, we have purchased a hollow-block-making machine that will save us about 1/3 of the cost of cement for making the 17,000 blocks for this building.  So, instead of $1.50 per block, it will now be “A Buck A Block.” 


Additionally, because we can now make these hollow blocks, it will be a simple matter to run the electrical wiring and plumbing besides the oxygen flow and suction pipes through the hollow blocks rather than having to chip out the lines from the solid blocks.  This will save us a lot of the labor costs.  The machine was only $200.00.


Thank you very much for all of your donations. Together we are making a lot of changes to this country. 

We couldn’t be where we are without you. You are so important to this project and to our country. Do your part and I will do mine. Together we a making a big difference to this world. Let's get this God's work done. 


We send love and gratitude to you. We care about you and your families. 

May God bless you abundantly. 


Best Regards,





Hello! My name is Margaret Loehrke I am a labor, delivery, postpartum and NICU nurse from Wisconsin.  My two weeks in Zinga are coming to a close today and am getting ready to head home.  This was my second trip to Tanzania to work with IHP-TZ, the first was five years ago in 2012 in Nykato as a student.  When I first toured the clinic here in Zinga I couldn’t believe how modern it is! The exam rooms are big enough that, even with visiting doctors and nurses in addition to the year-round staff, patients shouldn’t feel too claustrophobic.  Running water in every room is vitally important to prevent the spread of infection from one patient to another. The most exciting thing to me was the computer system! In Nykato, my job was to transcribe a patient’s presentation, examinations, lab results and treatment on a plan piece of computer paper.  No matter how hard I tried, my handwriting was always awful by the end of the day, and my hands would always cramp at the most inconvenient times.  A computerized charting system is a much more efficient and organized way to keep track of patients. 

            It takes a little bit of creativity, but it’s easy to imagine the completed birthing center and NICU/OR building that are starting to take shape behind the clinic.  I’m so eager for my skill set from home to translate to the hospital here.  Mary Ellen was very inspirational and encouraging when I met her five years ago and I can’t wait to work in her birth center. 

            I very much enjoy spending time here in Tanzania, learning from the doctors and nurses in the clinic and also meeting people working here from all over the world.  I have made friends here that I hope to be able to keep for many years to come and I have learned things here that will influence my practice for the rest of my professional life.  Right now my plan is to return in 2019 to be able to work in the MEK birthing center, I also hope to speak significantly better Swahili by then.  I’m very eager to see what projects have been completed in the coming years.


Hi there,

My name is Benedikt Matt. I’m a general practitioner from Austria and I’ve been working in the outpatient clinic for the last three weeks. This is my fourth time in Tanzania and my third time staying at Paula and Denny’s house. The first time was 5 years ago, back then they were still in Nyakato and I was still a student.

Zinga is a great place, beautiful surroundings, very warm and welcoming people. What impressed me the most are the differences of the new outpatient clinic, compared to the one in Nyakato. The medical infrastructure is markedly more sophisticated, spacious rooms, running water in each of them, a well-designed computer system,…

For many of you I don’t have to mention (but want to) what a great pleasure it was to be working with Dr. Bon and Dr. Kitundu, and the wonderful nursing staff.

I’ll miss all of them and hope to see them again soon.



My name is Stefanie Preiss, I am 28 years old and I come from Austria. I have just finished my training as a general practitioner. It is my first time at The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.

The first time at the hospital I immediately felt the love and the happiness and the kindness of the people here. I was surprised that a lot of patients have the same diseases and complaints as our patients in Austria, although here you see more patients with infectious diseases like malaria, but so I am learning something about those diseases. 

Unfortunately, I cannot speak with the patients, because I can’t speak Swahili, but I am sure that this isn’t my last time in Africa… 


Paula writing again.  Below is the speaking schedule.  We leave on Monday evening.  Please consider having us speak to  your friends, your church, your clubs as we travel around the U.S.


Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny