Health Partners

Caring for Children


September, 2018 Update from Zinga

Jesse Kitundu writing

Dear Friends to Mothers and Children.

September usually is a quiet month as most of the volunteers are gone, but they remain in our memories for the good things that we learn, hear and share with them.  Quietness around the round houses and swimming pool tells us it is end of season. Land marks in our buildings is another memory from them. We thank them for the nice work they have done.  

Also, is the month that Denny and Paula are getting ready to go back to US to continue with their meetings; in a week or so from now they be on their wings. We keep praying for them, till me meet again in February, 2019.

“Good friends are never forgotten, always remain in some one’s heart”

Thank you all again.

Jesse Kitundu.

Dear Friends to Mothers and Children.

September usually is a quiet month as most of the volunteers are gone, but they remain in our memories for the good things that we learn, hear and share with them.  Quietness around the round houses and swimming pool tells us it is end of season. Land marks in our buildings is another memory from them. We thank them for the nice work they have done.  

Also, is the month that Denny and Paula are getting ready to go back to US to continue with their meetings; in a week or so from now they be on their wings. We keep praying for them, till me meet again in February, 2019.

“Good friends are never forgotten, always remain in someone’s heart”

Thank you all again.

Jesse Kitundu.


Charles Powell, President, IHP, US, Inc. writing:

I find myself a spectator, watching from the bench and wishing I were in the game. I will not be able to travel to Tanzania this year, and it makes me sad to realize that I will be away from my other home at least until next year.  The progress at Children’s Hospital, Zinga, has been amazing.  Many thanks to the teams who have been out to Zinga and done such wonderful work.  Nonetheless, there are many challenges ahead of us.  For the birthing center to meet its potential, we must have a completed neonatal intensive care unit and a functioning surgical theater for C-sections.  And we really must have a pediatric ward as a part of a pediatric hospital.  We have been given special dispensation in having a renowned plastic surgeon offer training and assistance in developing a burn unit, but we need a burn unit.  We have offers of help and training to establish emergency services, but the obstacle?  We need a facility for emergency service.

God has blessed our us far beyond anything I can imagine, but that is His way.  He is the God who “does great things beyond understanding, and marvelous things without number.” (Job 9:10).  But I want everyone who contributes, prays, supports, and volunteers with IHP to know that God does marvelous things THROUGH YOU, AND THROUGH YOUR SUPPORT!  There is nothing I can say that could possibly express the gratitude I feel, and that of the organization.  I merely humbly request that you prayerfully continue, as the Lord leads you, so that His work can be done in Tanzania.  Stay with us; remain here with us; watch and pray.

Charles W. Powell, MD
International Health Partners - US


Dennis Lofstrom writing:

This is the last September Update we’ll be writing, always soon after the 20thof each month, However, this month’s Update comes due just six days before we fly from Dar es Salaam to return to the U.S. to embark on five months of fund raising. 

The Children’s Hospital at Zinga is coming along as planned thanks to your generous donor support.

We have made slides of the enlarged site plan that will eventually show placement, to scale, of all thirty-three units.  

Again, thank  you for your interest and support.

D.E. Lofstrom, M.D, C.O.O., IHP U.S., Inc. & IHP-JEMA-TZ


Selemani Shabani, Contractor, writing:

Hello IHP-JEMA-TZ and IHP, U.S., Inc. donors.  I pray that every one of you is doing well.  We are all doing well and we are going with our daily normal activities here at Zinga, Bagamoyo.  I am happy to inform you that everything here is proceeding well.

1.We have managed to finish the walls for the NICU & the Surgical Suite up to the roofline. Now the building is ready for the next step and that is the roof, as you can see in the picture.

2.We are thanking the late Dr. Steve Vanasco for the bequest he contributed to IHP and we are going to use that towards the NICU & Surgical suite roof.  Next week we are going to buy the roofing materials except for the wood, marine plywood boards and labor charge.  We are thanking this family for the donation.

3.We are making 6,000 cement blocks that we can use for the hospital septic system and the garage that will house all vehicles (ambulance, staff car, and the bus when we are able to get it) and a space for vehicle repairs and equipment.  

4.We are installing the windows for the inside of the labor and delivery building of the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center and this coming week we will start installing the grills for the exterior windows.  

On behalf of IHP-U.S., Inc. and IHP-JEMA-TZ I am thanking all of you donors and friends of ours for everything you have been providing and doing for the Tanzanian people.  May God bless you all for doing His work. May you be happy and strong.  May God be with you in every step of your life and also with your family.  THANK YOU.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Best regards,

Selemani Shabani


Simi Warring, Mayo medical student writing:

Habari from Tanzania (Swahili for hello)! 

How do I begin to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve in the children’s hospital, for the hospitality of the Lofstroms, Dr. Kitundu, Dr. Bon, and the rest of the IHP family, as well as the kindness of the local Tanzanians that have welcomed me?

I’m in my last year of medical school at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and I’ll be starting training in an OB/GYN residency program next summer. Prior to medical school I completed graduate training in Global Medicine with an intention to serve vulnerable communities after medical training. No one can cure all of the world’s suffering, but kidogo kidogo (little by little) we can work towards lessening suffering may it be one patient at a time, one community at a time, one project at a time, or one day at a time. International work is hard work. I’ve worked with multiple organizations in multiple countries to date in global medicine work. Done right it requires dedication, patience, strong values, and perseverance. All of which the Lofstroms, Dr. Kitundu, Dr. Bon, Sele, and the rest of the clinic staff have displayed. 

The wealth of knowledge, hard work, and heart is astounding at this hospital and in the IHP organization. Already so many lives are being saved and helped by their efforts and the effort of volunteers and donors who support this cause. Frankly without the hearts of the donors, all of this would not be possible so THANK YOU to all of those that support IHP and please continue your support! This organization does incredible work with the funding they have by saving lives, preventing illnesses, and educating communities. 

It’s overwhelming to imagine the impact the IHP vision of the maternal birthing center and pediatric hospital will have for the surrounding communities and for the patients that travel quite a distance for medical care. During the time I worked at the clinic we saw patients from nearby communities, as well as mothers, children, and families that commuted hours to see physicians they trusted would take good care of them. The amount of trust and rapport that the physicians and clinic staff have developed with the communities that visit Zinga for medical care is heartwarming. I witnessed patient visits in which families would seek the input of Dr. Bon or Dr. Kitundu on recommendations that other physicians from county or national hospitals would give. They trust our staff at Zinga- a sense of trust that’s developed over years of loyal and consistently compassionate, high-quality medical care. In addition to serving through medical services, the staff at Children’s Hospital, Zinga empower communities by taking the time and care it requires to teach patients about their ailments. Physicians and nurses provide education to patients on preventive health efforts that could make the difference of saving a life in the future. 

At Mayo Clinic we believe “The needs of the patients come first.” It’s our mantra that I’ve seen echoed by each physician, resident, nurse, and healthcare staff member I’ve worked with at Mayo. There’s no greater motive in our work than serving the needs of our patients. Each decision made, big or small, is made with the patient in mind. A large reason I felt at home at Children’s Hospital, Zinga is because here, as well, the needs of the patient always come first. 

In international work with limited resources and funding, meeting patients’ needs requires strong will and creativity. Children’s Hospital, Zinga has all that and more as they serve patients day in and day out. I’ve seen multiple patient encounters where physicians catch missed diagnoses that make the difference between life and death for a patient. I wonder to myself, without Children’s Hospital, Zinga what would happen to the patients? 

The physicians provide compassionate care, giving out their personal cell phone numbers making themselves available to patients at all times. The first day in clinic I met a mother who just weeks before had given birth to twins. Unfortunately, both of the infants were born with congenital radial club hands which is a deformity in their upper limbs. One twin was overall healthy with one upper limb deformity. The other twin was severely ill- bilateral upper limb deformities, malnourished, dehydrated, fevers, and a bulging fontanel. It was clear this infant was septic in addition to all of his other illnesses. The team came together to give this baby the best fighting chance they possibly could. Immediately fluids and antibiotics were started. The team prepared to transfer this child to another hospital for further management since our ICU unit is not built yet. To this day, weeks later, our physicians at Children’s Hospital, Zinga are corresponding with the parents regarding the infant’s health via their personal cell phones ensuring this child receives the medical care he needs. 

I’m leaving with a heart full of gratitude to all those that have welcomed me, taught me, and inspired me while I was in Zinga. After everything that I’ve seen this organization do for underserved patients, there’s no doubt that I’ll continue to support IHP and Children’s Hospital, Zinga for years to come. Asante sana (thank you very much) to all those that have made it possible for patients to receive medical care here. 

Simrit (Simi) Warring


Kelly Underwood writing:

Pole – I’m sorry – My sympathies are with you. It was the first Swahili word that stuck with me. A patient had come into the clinic with back pain, he left with a diagnosis of cancer. A medical volunteer whispered the word to him as he received the news, forever searing it into my brain.

I left the room and cried like a baby for a man I would probably never even see again.  

At home, I spend my days writing and working freelance. I didn’t come to Zinga as a medical volunteer. Watching the man get diagnosed was my first experience in an exam from the doctor’s point of view. Obviously, it wasn’t for me. I was too sensitive. I came because God sent me. It was as simple as that. I met a nurse who was coming down and twenty minutes later the plan was laid for me to join her. God set every step in motion. He planned every detail. I felt fully confident that I was supposed to go to Zinga for His work. The problem was, what job I was supposed to be filling? 

I struggled with why I was here in Zinga, a medical compound. What could I possibly provide when my life and education didn’t revolve around medicine? I couldn’t help in the clinic, as I learned. I was struggling to learn any Swahili words so; I couldn’t communicate anything other than my ‘sympathies are with you.’ 

I was lost. My journal was full of ‘why am I here’s?’ 

I decided to follow Paula’s motto. Trust God and show up to work. I settled into my days, helping Paula with whatever I could around the house. I asked questions and tried to learn more about the people and the organization. I tried to stay out of their way so I wouldn’t be a nuisance. I found ways to help where I could so I felt useful even if I wasn’t.

I paid attention to the beauty and kindness around me. The work being done was amazing. Seeing the beginnings of what was yet to come was thrilling. The happiness of the workers and volunteers as they helped others was inspiring. I was impressed through and through at what IHP had accomplished already in only a few years at Zinga. I couldn’t wait to come back and see the new buildings and services. 

My purpose emerged slowly when I realized it wasn’t my back that was needed for manual labor or my brain for my (non-existent) medical knowledge. It was just me. Who I was and what I knew. I was able to connect Paula with a printer for t-shirts and mugs, a designer for graphics, both willing to donate their time and services. I packed bags and tossed out ideas about marketing and sermons. God used my experience and knowledge, from my everyday life, to help the children’s hospital. 

All of us have something to contribute to this wonderful cause. I’m excited to return to Zinga and to continue to help with the hospital’s growth. God has truly blessed Zinga, the workers, and the community.

Thank you, Paula and Denny, for letting me be under foot!


Habari zenu? (How are all of you?) I’m David West, Paula and Denny’s son. I last visited the Children’s Hospital two years ago and have to admit that riding in and seeing the development and expansion of the buildings since then was just breathtaking. The OPD used to be the only building that could be seen as one enters the hospital but now the view also includes the large Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center and it is most impressive. What a difference it will make in the lives of families here! Another new building near the entrance is the canteen that will serve patients and staff and it is just lovely. The teams that painted it used wonderfully happy colors and Sele used various colored dies in the cement creating designs in the flooring, all of which give it a very festive appearance. 

Two years ago, there was an open space between the birthing center and what would become the building housing radiology/ultrasound and water purification. That building is completed and in use now. Standing in the X-Ray room, I felt as if I was in a modern western facility. The water purification equipment provided by Agua Viva is used daily and provides the clean water for the whole hospital. The NICU is being built and will stand in between those buildings. It’s easy to picture now as the walls are up. It will be absolutely amazing when finished. Sele showed me the plans for the PICU which will be built next to it and the construction people are clearing the area to build the foundation as I write this. 

It is great to be back and catching up again with the fantastic staff and crew of the Children’s Hospital at Zinga. More than anything, the warmth of the Tanzanian people stands out. Living in the U.S. with our hurried lifestyle and little time for others, it’s easy to forget the value of a few kind words shared with a genuine smile. In the culture here, it’s a natural part of every conversation. True happiness doesn’t come from having things, but from having good people in your life. Here, those people abound! Everyone is so inviting and welcoming and caring. They are always willing to share with you what they have, even if they have very little. The sense of community is so strong, it’s almost overwhelming. 

There have been many patients in just the few days I’ve been here because of the excellent quality of care. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this project and for the opportunity to see God’s hands at work daily in so many ways. If you have visited here, you will know what I’m talking about. If you have not yet been able to, I encourage you to do so as your life may well be changed more than you realize! 


Paula Lofstrom writing:

We’re so grateful for all the help we’ve had this season.  We love being here in Tanzania, but we have to put the finishing touches on packing over the next three days, board the plane, and head back for the U.S. We’ll be seeing many of you while in the U.S.  Please note our confirmed speaking schedule below and please, we’d like to fill in the empty dates on the schedule.  

You have all done so much to make the above possible.  Bless you. Thank you.  And please, continue.  Come see for yourself if possible.  In whatever way is best, be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the world today.

To keep IHP going, please consider a donation to:

IHP, US, Inc.

Joyce Zemel Treasurer

1811 S. 39th St., #36

Mesa, AZ  85206

 or go to our website, and click on PayPal, or call Joyce at 480-540-9317 

Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny